I'm so tired of playing their fucking stupid game. [Poster of article on Indymedia.org]
Ink dry on war script a year ago
Gordon Jockel was a senior Australian diplomat for many years. His long career included ambassadorships in Indonesia and Thailand in the 1970s and early '80s and he was once director of joint intelligence in our huge defence complex at Canberra's Russell Hill. Ironically, the complex of high security buildings, with its many hundreds of civilian and military bureaucrats, is dominated by the soaring plinth and eagle of the American war memorial, a gift in the late '40s from the US government and dubbed, soon after its opening, Phallus in Blunderland. Two days ago, Jockel, now retired, telephoned from the NSW North Coast.
His message was brief. Read the April 1 issue last year of The New Yorker , Jockel insisted. It was all there, he said, the whole monstrous charade over Iraq that has gone on ever since in Washington and the UN and here in Australia. Jockel was right. It is there, in chilling detail. All of it. No April Fool's Day joke, clearly. It has all happened, just as the article's author, Nicholas Lemann, said it would happen. It is still happening.
So next time you hear John Howard insulting your intelligence with all that fear-mongering rubbish he goes on with, ad nauseam, in seeking to justify his decision to include Australia in the so-called "coalition of the willing" - or, more credibly, the troika of the killing - think of Lemann's article, written out of Washington exactly a year ago, of how the Bush Administration always intended invading Iraq, whatever the UN said or did, and the campaign of deception and deceit it would and did employ over the past year to manipulate and mould domestic and international opinion to cover its deeper motives.
Which means, what exactly?
Well, so far as this country is concerned, it means our Prime Minister, involved from the very outset, is either a naive, impressionable hick from Down Under who's been utterly taken in by the authority and aura of the ~~~~~ House, or he is a very calculating liar who has convinced himself he's acting in our best national interest. You make your own choice. He has to be one or the other. Read Lemann's article to understand why.
Lemann writes a regular Letter from Washington in The New Yorker , which is published weekly. This particular article was entitled, "The next world order". It began: "When there is a change of command - and not just in government - the new people often persuade themselves that the old people were much worse than anyone suspected. This feeling seems intense in the [new] Bush Administration, perhaps because Bill Clinton has been bracketed by a father-son team. It's easy for people in [this] Administration to believe that, after an unfortunate eight-year interlude, the Bush family has resumed in governance - and about time, too."
Lemann's article is constructed around a lunch. "Not long ago, I had lunch with a senior administration foreign-policy official, at a restaurant in Washington called the Oval Room. Early in the lunch, he handed me a 27-page report whose cover bore the seal of the Department of Defence, an outline map of the world, and the words, 'Defence Strategy for the 1990s: The Regional Defence Strategy, Secretary of Defence, Dick Cheney, January, 1993'. "
Cheney was defence secretary in the Bush father's 1988-92 administration, which ended on January 20, 1993. Ten years later Cheney is the Bush son's Vice-President.
Lemann wrote: "After the fall of the Berlin Wall [in 1989], Cheney, as defence secretary, set up a 'shop', as they say, to think about American foreign policy at the grand strategic level. The project, whose existence was kept quiet, included people now back in the game [in Bush jnr's Administration], at a higher level: among them, Paul Wolfowitz, [now] Deputy Secretary of Defence; Lewis Libby, Vice-President Cheney's chief of staff; and Eric Edelman, a senior foreign policy adviser to Cheney - generally speaking, a cohesive group of conservatives who regard themselves as bigger-thinking, tougher-minded and intellectually bolder than anyone else in Washington ...
"Colin Powell, then [in 1993] chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, mounted a competing, and presumably more ideologically moderate, effort to reimagine foreign policy and defence. A date was set - May 21, 1990 - on which each team would brief Cheney for an hour. Cheney would then brief president Bush [snr], after which Bush would make a foreign-policy address unveiling the new grand strategy. Everybody worked for months on the brief, with a sense that the shape of the post-Cold War world was at stake." Bush snr subsequently prepared his major foreign policy speech, using material mostly from Wolfowitz, "but he delivered it on August 1, 1990, the day that Iraq invaded Kuwait, so nobody noticed".
Lemann continued: "The team kept working. In 1992 The New York Times got its hands on a version of the material and published a front-page story saying the Pentagon envisaged a future in which the US could, and should, prevent any other nation or alliance from becoming a great power. A few weeks of controversy ensued about Bush hawks being 'unilateral', controversy that Cheney's people put an end to with denials and the counter of an edited, softer version of the same material.
"As it became apparent Bush was going to lose to Clinton [in November, 1992], the Cheney team's effort took on the quality of a parting shot. The report the senior official handed to me at lunch [early last year] had been issued only a few days before Clinton took office.
"It is a somewhat bland, opaque document - a 'scrubbed', meaning unclassified, version of something more candid - but it contained the essential ideas of 'shaping' the rest of the world and of preventing the rise of other superpowers.
"Its tone is sceptical about diplomatic partnerships. A more forthright version of the same ideas can be found in a short book, From Containment to Global Leadership , which Kalmay Khalilzad, who joined Cheney's team in 1991 and is now special envoy to Afghanistan, published a couple of years into the Clinton administration. It recommends the US 'preclude the rise of another global rival for the indefinite future'."
The Lemann article of several thousand words includes an interview with Richard Haas, another veteran from Bush snr's ~~~~~ House years and now director of policy planning for the US State Department. Lemann quotes Haas: "What you're seeing from this Administration is the emergence of a new principle or body of ideas about what you might call the limits of sovereignty. One is not to massacre your own people. Another is not to support terrorism in any way. If a government fails to meet these obligations, then it forfeits some of the normal advantages of sovereignty, including the right to be left alone inside your own territory.
"Other governments, including the US, gain the right to intervene. In the case of terrorism, this can even lead to a right of preventive, or peremptory, self-defence. You essentially can act in anticipation if you have the grounds to think it's a question of when, and not if, you're going to be attacked. I don't think the American public needs a lot of persuading about Saddam Hussein. I'd expect the President and his chief lieutenants to make the case. Public opinion can be changed. We'd be able to make the case this isn't a discretionary action but one done in self-defence. We have to have allies. We can't impose our ideas on everyone. We don't want to be fighting wars alone, so we need others to join us. American leadership, yes, but not American unilateralism. It has to be multilateral."
Enter Tony Blair and John Howard.
There is much more in the Lemann article. But one stunningly prescient section reads: "The first, but by no means the last, obvious manifestation of a new American foreign policy will be the effort to remove Saddam Hussein. What the US does in Iraq will very likely dwarf what's been done in Afghanistan ... Smiling and supremely confident, Richard Perle, the prominent hawk and former Defence Department official, opened a panel discussion in Washington recently by saying: 'Evidence is mounting the Administration is looking very carefully at strategies for dealing with Saddam. That means changing his regime. And that action will be taken, I have no doubt ...'
"When [Bush] submitted [his Administration's] budget earlier this year , it asked for a $US48 billion [$81 billion] increase in defence spending in fiscal 2003 [beginning last October].
"A total $US10 billion of this is designated as an unspecified contingency fund for further operations in the war against terrorism. That's probably at least the initial funding for an invasion of Iraq.
"This [northern] spring [March/May, 2002], the Administration will be talking to other countries about the invasion, trying to secure basing and overflight privileges, while Bush builds up a rhetorical case for it by giving speeches about the unacceptability of developing weapons of mass destruction. A drama involving weapons inspections in Iraq will play itself out over the spring and [northern] summer [June/August 2002], and will end with the US declaring that the terms that Saddam offers for inspections, involving delays and restrictions, are unacceptable.
"Then, probably in late summer or early fall [September/November 2002], the enormous US troop positioning, which will take months, will begin. The administration obviously feels the US can effectively parry whatever aggressive actions Saddam takes during the troop build-up, and hopes its moves will destabilise Iraq. The chain of events leading inexorably to a full-scale American invasion, if it hasn't already begun, evidently will begin soon."
Remember, this was all written a year ago. It begs the obvious that everything Bush and Howard have said and done in the 12 months since has simply been part and parcel of the most grotesque pretence.
The Great Charade
By Alan Ramsay
Posted on the Independent Newswire on 21 March 2003.