Friday, May 30, 2008

The incredible vanishing PNAC

Well, their website is no longer there, but the vermin are still rampant in every dark corner of the White House and are an integral part of The Bu$h Administration. Their influence can now be felt in every part of the world. They are in our banks, our medicine, our food, our telephone, our yada yadayadayada...I think you get my point. This list could reach from here to the ionosphere, and they aren't going to quietly go away. Here's a little bit of the history of these neer-do-wells.

EXERPTS FROM: The Dubya Report

The Prophet of Prevarication and His Disciple

Special to The Dubya Report
August 4, 2003
Updated February 10, 2007

Thirty years, two months and five days after North Carolina Senator Sam Ervin gaveled to order the Senate Watergate hearings, congress opened hearings into the use of "intelligence" to justify military action in Iraq. 1973 also marked the death of Leo Strauss, a little-known German émigré philosopher who fled Nazi Germany and found a home at the University of Chicago. While at Chicago, Strauss and mathematician Albert Wohlstetter trained a number of students who themselves became, or whose students became important figures in the neoconservative movement. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz studied with Strauss protégé Allan Bloom, and earned his Ph.D. from the U of C in 1972. William Kristol, chairman of the currently influential conservative advocacy group the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), studied with Strauss student Harvey Mansfield. NSC southwest Asia specialist Zalmay Khalilzad earned his Ph.D. under Wohlstetter in 1979, 10 years after Ahmed Chalabi, the "man who would be king" of Iraq.

Practical Straussianism?

The current skepticism in the mainstream media, the Congress, and increasingly the public over the justifications used by the Bush administration to initiate the ground war in Iraq occurs at the junction of a neoconservative approach to foreign policy and the practical implementation of Strauss's distinction between public and private truths. In May 2003 the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh examined the OSP -- a small group of policy advisers in the Defense Department. "These advisers and analysts, who began their work in the days after September 11, 2001, have produced a skein of intelligence reviews that have helped to shape public opinion and American policy toward Iraq," Hersh wrote. The workings of the Office of Special Plans read like a University of Chicago seminar, if not a Straussian "lab" project. The group was conceived by Paul Wolfowitz, now Deputy Secretary of Defense, a U of C product and student of Strauss protégé Allan Bloom. The office's director is Strauss devotee, Abram Shulsky. U of C alum Ahmed Chalabi and his Iraqi National Congress were key resources for the group.

Also in the OSP is retired Navy Captain William Luti, who in April 2002 was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs, but is referred to by Hersh as Under-Secretary of Defense. Following the terrorist attacks of September 2001 Luti was among those who advocated that a policy paper justifying military response should make the case that Iraq was involved. Luti was also among a small number of US officials dispatched to London in December 2002 to monitor a conference of Iraqi exile groups.

On July 12, Knight-Ridder papers reported that despite their extensive efforts to justify military action in Iraq, OSP had no plan for the post-war period. An eight-month long effort by the State Department, labeled the "Future of Iraq" project, which had consulted dozens of Iraqi exiles and 17 government agencies in developing plans for everything from judicial code to environmental protection, was ignored. Instead, according to government officials interviewed for the Knight-Ridder report, "The Pentagon group insisted on doing things its way because it had a visionary strategy that it hoped would transform Iraq into an ally of Israel, remove a potential threat to the Persian Gulf oil trade and encircle Iran with U.S. allies." Consistent with Shulsky's theoretical writings, when State Department and CIA officials objected that the plan was impractical, they were simply ignored.

U of C alum and convicted embezzler Ahmed Chalabi figures prominently in OSP efforts to justify the war, and in their postwar vision. According to the Knight-Ridder report, the OSP was convinced that Iraqis would welcome US forces (a view Chalabi voiced often to US media), and that Chalabi would assume power. Responding to the Knight-Ridder report, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith denied that OSP wanted to put Chalabi in charge, but the plan was confirmed by former Defense Policy Board chair Richard Perle, in an interview.

Jason Leopold's July 25 exposé of the OSP reported that the group leaked to the New York Times information that Iraq's attempt to purchase aluminum tubes last year was part of a nuclear weapons program. In public statements Bush and National Security adviser Rice both referenced the Times story as evidence of the Iraqi threat to the US. OSP also attempted to document links between al-Qaeda and the Iraqi government, but when the OSP presented their findings to the CIA, the CIA did not change their assessment that no significant links existed. According to the agents who spoke to Leopold, the OSP also "routinely rewrote the CIA’s intelligence estimates on Iraq’s weapons programs," removing qualifiers such as "probably" or "likely," in order to exaggerate the appearance of an imminent threat.

Ironically, as Hersh noted, Shulsky's book warned of relying on defectors to provide intelligence because "it is difficult to be certain that they are genuine...." While they can provide unique insight, Shulsky and Witt write, they "may be greedy; they may also be somewhat unbalanced people who wish to bring some excitement into their lives; they may desire to avenge what they see as ill treatment by their government; or they may be subject to blackmail." As an example Shulsky cited conflicting information provided to the US by Soviet defectors, which is still being sorted out. One of Strauss's philosophical forbears warned of the dangers of relying on information from exiles. Chapter 31 of Machiavelli's Discourses is titled "How Dangerous It Is to Believe Exiles."

Read the whole artical

No comments: