Politics and Policy:

    The drums of war keep pounding louder and I kept help but feel very, very depressed.

    Part of it for me is that I keep wanting to not hate President Bush, and to love and respect him as a human being (even if I have next to zero respect for his perforance as President). This struggle inside of myself has became much more difficult with two stories from today’s news.

  • The First one, NY Times: Air Patrols Shift Targets in Iraq, Clearing the Way for Any Attack contains the following excerpts…

      WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 — American and British warplanes patrolling Iraq’s no-flight zones have recently shifted tactics to bombing major air defense sites in those areas, a move that could help clear air lanes for an allied attack, military officials said today. Meanwhile, the military is preparing to base B-2 bombers outside the United States for the first time, officials said.

      . . .Under the new tactics, General Pace said, the retaliatory strikes are being directed at fixed targets like buildings, command-and-control centers and military airfields instead of mobile radars and other shifting targets.

      Mr. Rumsfeld said he did not know how quickly Baghdad could repair command-and-control buildings and military airfields.

    How can this be happening? I thought Bush said he would not go to war without Congressional approval and international support. I’ve talked about this in the past on JMBzine, but this latest escalation of the 11 year long Persian Gulf war has taken this outrage to a new level.

    Not to sound trite, but Bush is a Texan and as a fellow former Texan, I always understood part of the national ethos of Texas is a belief in straight talking. Dubya must have gotten Potamoc Fever, because this is not only bending the truth, but it is flat out lying.

    Of course, the other possibility is that Bush is really, really, really stupid and that he has no idea what is going on and is just parroting the lines given to him by his puppeteers. I kept trying to believe that to be the case (Bush in person seems like a nice guy. You can’t help but like him.), but the more time goes by, the more I think that in the past I understimated his intelligence and overestimated his character.

  • The second story is one that originated in the British Press, which I will quote in its entirety (under fair use of copyright laws, in the event that the Sunday Herald takes this story offline)…

    Sunday Herald: Bush planned Iraq ‘regime change’ before becoming President

      By Neil Mackay

      A SECRET blueprint for US global domination reveals that President Bush and his cabinet were planning a premeditated attack on Iraq to secure ‘regime change’ even before he took power in January 2001.

      The blueprint, uncovered by the Sunday Herald, for the creation of a ‘global Pax Americana’ was drawn up for Dick Cheney (now vice- president), Donald Rumsfeld (defence secretary), Paul Wolfowitz (Rumsfeld’s deputy), George W Bush’s younger brother Jeb and Lewis Libby (Cheney’s chief of staff). The document, entitled Rebuilding America’s Defences: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century, was written in September 2000 by the neo-conservative think-tank Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

      The plan shows Bush’s cabinet intended to take military control of the Gulf region whether or not Saddam Hussein was in power. It says: ‘The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.’

      The PNAC document supports a ‘blueprint for maintaining global US pre-eminence, precluding the rise of a great power rival, and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests’.

      This ‘American grand strategy’ must be advanced for ‘as far into the future as possible’, the report says. It also calls for the US to ‘fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theatre wars’ as a ‘core mission’.

      The report describes American armed forces abroad as ‘the cavalry on the new American frontier’. The PNAC blueprint supports an earlier document written by Wolfowitz and Libby that said the US must ‘discourage advanced industrial nations from challenging our leadership or even aspiring to a larger regional or global role’.

      The PNAC report also:

      l refers to key allies such as the UK as ‘the most effective and efficient means of exercising American global leadership’;

      l describes peace-keeping missions as ‘demanding American political leadership rather than that of the United Nations’;

      l reveals worries in the administration that Europe could rival the USA;

      l says ‘even should Saddam pass from the scene’ bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait will remain permanently — despite domestic opposition in the Gulf regimes to the stationing of US troops — as ‘Iran may well prove as large a threat to US interests as Iraq has’;

      l spotlights China for ‘regime change’ saying ‘it is time to increase the presence of American forces in southeast Asia’. This, it says, may lead to ‘American and allied power providing the spur to the process of democratisation in China’;

      l calls for the creation of ‘US Space Forces’, to dominate space, and the total control of cyberspace to prevent ‘enemies’ using the internet against the US;

      l hints that, despite threatening war against Iraq for developing weapons of mass destruction, the US may consider developing biological weapons — which the nation has banned — in decades to come. It says: ‘New methods of attack — electronic, ‘non-lethal’, biological — will be more widely available … combat likely will take place in new dimensions, in space, cyberspace, and perhaps the world of microbes … advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool’;

      l and pinpoints North Korea, Libya, Syria and Iran as dangerous regimes and says their existence justifies the creation of a ‘world-wide command-and-control system’.

      Tam Dalyell, the Labour MP, father of the House of Commons and one of the leading rebel voices against war with Iraq, said: ‘This is garbage from right-wing think-tanks stuffed with chicken-hawks — men who have never seen the horror of war but are in love with the idea of war. Men like Cheney, who were draft-dodgers in the Vietnam war.

      ‘This is a blueprint for US world domination — a new world order of their making. These are the thought processes of fantasist Americans who want to control the world. I am appalled that a British Labour Prime Minister should have got into bed with a crew which has this moral standing.’

    One note though. It looks like MacKay overstated his scoop as the “secret document” in question is actually publically available online. Thanks to the good folks at the Sunday Herald’s discussion forum, here is the actual full text of the referenced in the story in PDF Format. (If the website takes the PDF file down, feel free to email me and I will forward you a copy that I downloaded of it.)