USA - Irak-kritik øger presset mod Bush-regering!
Iraq War: Bush gang in crisis
Fred Goldstein, 3. november 2005
Da vice-præsident Dick Cheney's ledende rådgiver Libby blev tvunget til at trække sig tilbage åbnede det spørgsmålet, om USA er gradvis på vej mod en sag på præsident Bush, for at stille præsidenten til ansvar for de løgne, der blev anvendt for at trække nationen ud i en krig, som indtil videre har kostet over 2.000 amerikanske soldater livet og såret omkring 18.000, for slet ikke at tale om de skader som krigen i øvrigt har bidraget med.
The indictment of I. Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief aide, in the CIA leak case on the narrow grounds of perjury, misstatement and obstruction leaves open the question of whether the Bush administration will be explicitly put on trial for its conspiracy to go to war in Iraq.
This conspiracy was known about before, during and after the war. Only after more than 2,000 U.S. troops have been killed, almost 18,000 wounded and $500 billion spent on the war, and after the determined anti-colonial resistance of the Iraqi people has humiliated the White House and the Pentagon, have sections of the “multilateral” wing of the ruling class and sections of the military decided to challenge the narrow, right-wing grouping that brought about this debacle.
Even the strength and direction of that challenge is in question.
The Democratic Party leaders have tried to keep themselves from being rendered politically irrelevant in the scandal over leaking the identity of a CIA agent. Democratic senators forced a closed session of the Senate on Nov. 1 in order to extract an agreement from the Republicans to deal with the investigation of the executive’s systematic lies in the run-up to the war.
In 2002 and 2003, the ruling class as a whole, its media and both political parties were swept into the Iraq war—some enthusiastically, some reluctantly, but all willingly. They were taken in by the prospect of a quick victory through “shock and awe.” They were all ready to seize Iraqi oil. They were looking forward to recolonizing the Middle East—if U.S. military aggression could succeed.
But since the war was declared officially over in April 2003, the rulers have watched the U.S. quagmire in Iraq deepen. They have been promised “turning points” in the occupation by Bush, Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld over and over again. The formation of a puppet government, the elections, the drawing up of a constitution—each was supposed to be a step forward. And after each of these “turning points,” Iraqi resistance to the occupation continued and grew. The promised battle-ready Iraqi puppet army now seems a distant mirage.
Now ruling class elements are remembering that the Iraq war was a so-called “war of choice.” They remember how they did not want to go to war without building up a multilateral alliance with fellow imperialists in Europe. They remember how the Bush group turned this alliance down because it did not want to share the spoils, how Washington poured contempt on all its European rivals except for its junior partners in London.
Disillusionment and defeat
It is this disillusionment and defeat that is the background to the indictment of Libby and the grand jury investigation. But the Bush administration reacted to the charges against Cheney’s chief aide, who is a key conspirator, by paying them lip service.
Bush then tried to move quickly past the indictment by changing the subject with the nomination of the right-wing, anti-choice, anti-worker, racist judge Sam Alito to replace Sandra Day O’Connor on the Supreme Court.
Cheney quietly appointed two war conspirators from his staff to replace Libby. David Addington, Cheney’s counsel, became his new chief of staff. Addington had played a key role in writing the Justice Department document upholding the right to use torture under presidential war powers. He argued to abolish the rights of detainees held by the military and defended Cheney’s case against exposing to public view the secret agreements with the oil and gas industry, among other things.
John Hannah, who served as a conduit for manufactured intelligence from Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress —intelligence which wound up in Cheney’s office and the White House—was named as Cheney’s new national security adviser.
Libby was Cheney’s powerful chief of staff and his national security adviser. He also was an adviser to the president who sat on the National Security Council and attended CIA briefings every day.
The grand jury indictment brought by Patrick Fitzgerald was a blow directed at Cheney. Cheney has concentrated unpre cedented power for a vice president, with a staff of 15 military and political advisers on foreign affairs, rivaling that of Bush. By contrast, the last Democratic vice president, Al Gore, had only one national security adviser. (“All the Vice President’s Men” by Juan Cole, Spiegel on-line, Oct. 28)
Together with former undersecretary of defense Paul Wolfowitz, Libby co-authored a 1992 document entitled “Defense Plan ning Guidance” for the Pentagon. Cheney ran the Pentagon during the first Bush administration. Wolfowitz and Libby were opposed to ending the first Gulf war of 1991 without first destroying Saddam Hussein.
Plan for U.S. world domination
The 1992 document, written in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, declared that the U.S. would now dominate the world and that no power or combination of powers on earth should even attempt to challenge Washington’s hegemony in any region.
Excerpts from the document were leaked to the New York Times and published April 8, 1992. The Bush Sr. administration was forced to disavow it. It was rewritten thereafter and finally turned up in an even more aggressive form in George W. Bush’s “National Security Strategy” put forward in the fall of 2002.
Libby, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfo witz were founding members of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), created during the Clinton administration. In 2000 PNAC published a 96-page document that projected the revamping of U.S. military power to strengthen and expand Washington’s world domination.
After Sept. 11, 2001, Libby became Cheney’s point man in dealing with the Office of Special Plans (OSP), set up by Rumsfeld to manipulate and manufacture intelligence to support the Bush war plans for Iraq. “The ideologically driven network functioned like a shadow government,” wrote the Guardian of London on July 17, 2003, “much of it off the official payroll and beyond Congressional oversight. But it proved powerful enough to prevail in a struggle with the State Department and the CIA by establishing the justification for war.
“The president’s most trusted adviser, Mr. Cheney, was at the shadow network’s sharp end,” continued the Guardian. “He made several trips to the CIA … to demand a more ‘forward leaning’ interpretation of the threat posed by Saddam. When he was not there to make his influence felt, his chief of staff, Lewis ‘Scooter’ Libby, was. Such hands-on involvement in the processing of intelligence data was unprecedented for a vice-president in recent times and it put pressure on the CIA to come up with the appropriate results.”
On Oct. 19 of this year, Col. Larry Wilk erson (ret.), former chief of staff at the State Department and a close aide to Secre tary of State Colin Powell, delivered a speech widely noted in military and political circles. Wilkerson was formerly the head of the Marine War College. He has taught a generation of naval and marine officers and is a military and political insider.
A cabal running the U.S.
Speaking to the New America Foundation on Oct. 19, Wilkerson caused a stir when he said: “[T]he case I saw for four-plus years was a case that I have never seen in my studies of aberrations, bastardizations, perturbations, changes to national security decision-making pro cess. What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made. And then when the bureaucracy was presented with the decision to carry them out, it was presented in such a disjointed, incredible way that the bureaucracy often didn’t know what it was doing as it moved to carry them out.
“So you’ve got this collegiality there,” continued Wilkerson, “between the secretary of defense and the vice president and you’ve got a president who is not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either.”
Wilkerson went on to talk about the seeming “dysfunctionality” of the group but then said that “the dysfunctionality camouflaged the efficiency of the secret decision-making process.”
Wilkerson was really reflecting the opinion of a large section of the officer corps when he said that “my army is in bad shape.” He spoke of the need to rebuild a military that is unraveling. The former officer denounced the Bush officials for authorizing torture, which he said discredits the military and makes it harder to win wars.
Wilkerson’s talk was followed on Oct. 31 by a major piece in the New Yorker magazine about the former national security adviser for George Bush Sr., Brent Scow croft, himself a retired Air Force general. Entitled “Breaking Ranks,” the article recounted how Scowcroft pushed a reluctant Bush administration—including Bush Sr., Cheney and Powell—into going to war with Iraq in 1991. Scowcroft is a multilateralist war hawk, a protégé of Henry Kissinger and a long-time friend and confidant of Bush Sr. Scowcroft coined the term New World Order after the collapse of the USSR.
While he was for the war in 1991, the general was opposed to invading Baghdad. “At a minimum we’d be an occupier in a hostile land,” Scowcroft told author Jeffrey Goldberg. “Our forces would be sniped at by guerrillas and how would we get out?”
Scowcroft published an article in the Wall Street Journal in August 2002 entitled “Don’t attack Saddam.” He had to publish it in the newspaper because he could not get to see anyone in the Bush administration. “Scowcroft’s best friend’s son is the president,” wrote Goldberg. “His friend Dick Cheney is the vice president; Condoleezza Rice … was once a Scowcroft protégé; the current national security adviser, Stephen Hadley, is another protégé and a former partner at the Scowcroft Group.”
The Scowcroft Group is his personal consulting firm, comprised of former government officials. Trading on his wide military and political connections, Scow croft’s company represents 30 of the largest corporations and opens doors for them world-wide.
Yet it is said that Scowcroft was consulted by the Clinton administration more frequently than by Bush.
When a figure as formidable as Scow croft cannot get the time of day at the White House, it means that important sections of the military, political and corporate establishment can neither get their opinions heard nor find out what is really going on. The references by Wilkerson to the “bureaucracy” being kept in the dark means that all the traditional channels of the various factions of the ruling class are shut out except those factions favored by the tightly closed Bush administration.
Discontent in the Pentagon
Sen. John McCain, a hawk and a rival of Bush, just successfully sponsored a bill outlawing torture by the U.S. military. McCain comes from a military dynasty. His father, an admiral, was in charge of the Pacific Fleet during the Vietnam War. Sen. McCaingroup also worries that the U.S. military will be subject to reprisal if it openly practices torture. A statement supporting his bill was signed by 21 military officers, including two former heads of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: Powell and Gen. John Shalikashvili. Cheney is now scheming to eviscerate the anti-torture bill.
Generals John Abizaid and George Casey Jr., the two highest commanders in the Persian/Arab Gulf and Iraq, have both openly differed with Rumsfeld on the readiness of Iraqi puppet forces and on the need to begin to lower the number of troops. They recently told a Senate committee that the occupation is fueling the resistance.
The grand jury investigation and the fury around the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of the White House cover-up reflects a deep discontent among other factions of the ruling class, the military and imperialist strategists. Some want to escalate the war, some want to pull back from Iraq. And some have no program at all but are just angry with the Bush administration for injuring the reputation and interests of Washington and the Pentagon.
They want to break the stranglehold of this narrow “cabal” in the Oval Office, as Wilkerson calls it. But the movement of the workers and the oppressed should see this for what it is. It is not some progressive struggle between the left and the right. It is a fight between imperialist factions over how to stop the damage to U.S. imperialism and turn things around—“multilaterally” or by any other means.
Sections of the military in particular are enraged at being given what they regard as “mission impossible” by a narrow group of right-wing ideologues who fancy themselves as world military strategists. But none of the factions has a solution to the problem, because no outcome of the struggle can stop the Iraqi people from resisting colonial occupation.
The Democratic Party leaders are salivating at the thought of opening a campaign against corruption and lying. However, they are corrupt liars themselves and they all backed the war. They want to lend themselves to the anti-Bush factions of the military and the ruling class.
The progressive movement here should take advantage of these differences to expose the lies, the illegality and the corruption, but should use these exposures to widen an independent struggle against the occupation, the war makers and all capitalist ruling class factions.