U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein’s regime from power and
establishing a peaceful and democratic Iraq in its place. We recognize that this goal will not be achieved
easily. But the alternative is to leave the initiative to Saddam, who will continue to strengthen his position
at home and in the region. Only the U.S. can lead the way in demonstrating that his rule is not legitimate and
that time is not on the side of his regime…. We should establish and maintain a strong U.S. military presence
in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the Gulf — and, if necessary,
to help remove Saddam from power.
— William Kristol, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, et.al., letter to the leadership
of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, May 29, 1998.
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in Bush v. Gore): "the
individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States," it
was merely confirming the fact that the policy of the U.S. government policy is not set by its citizens. Even if Bush had won
the 2000 election, the true policymakers are not elected, and in many cases not even appointed by elected officials. One of
the major groups setting foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, is the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
Founded by William Kristol, editor of the News Corporation’s Weekly Standard, PNAC has become a major influence on the
military policy of the U.S. government through two of its leading members, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Defense Policy
Board member Richard Perle.
In 1941 Henry Luce, the founding editor of TIME Magazine, anticipated that the United
States would emerge from World War 2 as the world’s greatest superpower, launching
what he termed the "American Century. He believed it was time "to accept
wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful and vital nation of
the world and in consequence to assert upon the world the full impact of our influence,
for such means as we see fit."
In 1972 Paul Wolfowitz received his doctorate from University of Chicago, under the guidance of
Albert Wohlstetter, a military strategist who put forward the idea of "graduated
deterrence" — limited, small-scale wars fought with "smart" precision-guided bombs.
Wohlstetter, a protégé of Leo Strauss, was also a major influence on Richard Perle.
In 1992 a draft policy statement called "Defense Planning Guidance" was prepared for the
Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Paul Wolfowitz. The draft outlined several scenarios in which
U.S. interests could be threatened by regional conflict: "access to vital raw materials, primarily
Persian Gulf oil; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
and ballistic missiles, threats to U.S. citizens from terrorism or regional or local conflict,
and threats to U.S. society from narcotics trafficking."
In 1995 Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation launched
the Weekly Standard. Editor William Kristol previously served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle.
On June 3, 1997, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) issued its founding
Statement of Principles,
declaring: "We need to accept responsibility for America’s unique role in preserving
and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles."
- Jeb Bush, governor of Florida, key to handing the presidency to his brother
George W. Bush
- Dick Cheney, Vice President of the United States, former Secretary of Defense,
former Halliburton CEO
- Dan Quayle, former Vice President of the United States
- Donald Rumsfeld, current and past Secretary of Defense
- Paul Wolfowitz, Deputy Secretary of Defense, former Undersecretary of Defense
On May 29, 1998, PNAC sent a letter to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives advocating regime change in
Iraq. As a result, Congress, with bipartisan support, passed the Iraq Liberation Act. Section 3 of the Act reads: "It should
be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by
Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic
government to replace that regime." Signatories of the PNAC letter include Kristol, Rumsfeld, and
Wolfowitz, along with:
- Richard Perle, member and former chairman of Defense Policy Board; managing
partner in Trireme Partners, a venture-capital company heavily invested in
manufacturers of technology for the military and homeland security
- James Woolsey, former Director of Central Intelligence
Under Michael Joyce, the Bradley Foundation
made 15 grants during the years 1986-2001 totaling nearly
$1.9 million to the New Citizenship Project Inc., the parent group of PNAC. (William
Kristol serves as chairman of both organizations.) The foundation also is a significant
funding source for the American Enterprise Institute, another neoconservative think tank.
On October 15, 2001, a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Weekly Standard
published an article titled The
Case for the American Empire. The article stated:
Once Afghanistan has been dealt with, America should turn its attention to Iraq. It
will probably not be possible to remove Saddam quickly without a U.S. invasion and
occupation–though it will hardly require half a million men, since Saddam’s army is
much diminished since the Gulf War, and we will probably have plenty of help from
Iraqis, once they trust that we intend to finish the job this time. Once we have
deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in
Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul. With American seriousness and
credibility thus restored, we will enjoy fruitful cooperation from the region’s many
opportunists, who will show a newfound eagerness to be helpful in our larger task
of rolling up the international terror network that threatens us.
On Jan. 14, 2003, as US troops prepared to invade Iraq, William Kristol reviewed the influence
of Wolfowitz’s 1992 Defense Planning document in a PBS interview:
I think Wolfowitz is now vindicated by history, but it took a long time to get
vindicated. And, obviously, the Bush realists, what might be called the minimalist
realism of the first Bush administration, was followed by a kind of wishful
liberalism of the Clinton administration. And it really wasn’t until 9/11 that
Wolfowitz’s paper, which by that time was nine years old, I think, came to be seen as
In a May 10, 2003, interview with a Vanity Fair reporter,
Wolfowitz outlined the strategic reasons for invading Iraq. Though he denied authorship of the 1992 Defense Planning draft, he admitted
that the war had little to do with any Iraqi program to develop weapons of mass destruction. "The truth is that for reasons that
have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on … weapons of mass destruction as the core reason," Wolfowitz said.