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Bush Telegraphs His Punches on Syria


Some cynics claim that George W. Bush and his closest advisors — whom cynics cynically refer to as “bloodthirsty corporate pimps” — are just a bunch of vicious, shifty liars. But this writer takes enormous umbrage at the heaping of such unsupported calumny upon the good names of these great leaders. They have been maligned, slandered, falsely accused. For when it comes to their plans for world conquest, these “pimps” are as honest as the day is long.

As we all know, the rape of Iraq (or as future historians will doubtless call it, “The Dawn of the Shiite Empire”) was planned openly several years ago by a hard-right agitprop cell led by Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld. Now it turns out that the recent big-monkey chest-beating aimed at Syria — threats of sanctions, “surgical” strikes, and “regime change” — was also carefully planned, by many of the same people, long before the Bush Regime seized power.

As we’ve often reported here, in September 2000 the Cheney-Rumsfeld outfit, Project for the New American Century, proudly published their blueprint for the direct imposition of U.S. “forward bases” throughout Central Asia and the Middle East. They even foresaw the need for what they called a “Pearl Harbor-type event” to galvanize the American public into supporting their ambitious program. Their reasons for this program were also stated quite openly: to ensure U.S. political and economic domination of the world, while strangling any potential “rival” or any viable alternative to the rapacious crony capitalism favored by the PNAC extremists. This dominance would be enforced by the ever-present threat — and frequent application — of violence. (A tactic known elsewhere as “terrorism.”)

PNAC was also very honest about the role of Iraq in this crusade for empire, stating plainly that the need for a U.S. military presence in the area “superseded” the “issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” There was no sanctimonious posturing about “liberation,” weapons of mass destruction or terrorist connections. To dominate the oil wealth centered in that region — and hence the economic/political development of the world in the coming decades — they needed a military presence in Iraq; it’s as simple as that.

And now they’ve got it. Again, it’s all quite open — for anyone who cares to look. Last week, the Pentagon announced that it “expects” (i.e., “demands”) to have “long-term access” to at least four major military bases in Iraq, The New York Times reports. (Rumsfeld — or “Shifty” as cynics like to call him — later issued your standard weasel-worded non-denial denial — like the Jesuits of old, the Bushists never lie when equivocation will do.) Although the hundreds of thousands of armed and angry Shiite Muslims currently clamoring for an Islamic state in Bush’s new satrapy may yet cause a spot of bother for the sahibs, for now the generals and arms dealers installed as Iraq’s new rulers believe they will still be sitting pretty in Fort Pretzel and Carlyle Air Base throughout the “new American century.” This was, after all, the purpose of the recent slaughter — as Cheney and Rumsfeld told us plainly years ago.

A few months before PNAC’s prophetic 2000 report, an allied group with an overlapping membership published a similar document outlining steps to be taken against Syria: first “tightening the screws” with denunciations and economic sanctions, then escalating to military action, as Jim Lobe of Inter-Press Agency reports. The architects of this document included Elliot Abrams, the convicted perjurer now running Bush’s Middle East policy; Douglas Feith, one of Shifty’s top aides; Paula Dobriansky, undersecretary to Colin Powell, and influential Pentagon advisors such as David Wurmser, Michael Leeden and everyone’s sweetheart, Richard “Influence-Peddler” Perle.

The report sprang largely from the loins of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon, a curious grouping of right-wing American Christians, right-wing American Jews, and a sprinkling of Lebanese exiles. They object — rightly — to the fact that Syria has maintained “long-term access to major military bases” in Lebanon, using this minatory presence to exercise undue sway over Lebanon’s political and economic life. Of course, some cynics would say this situation is remarkably akin to Israel’s own 18-year occupation of, er, Lebanon, or the United States’ decades-long — and still-continuing — military presence in Japan, Korea, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Panama, etc. But you know what cynics are like.

The USCFL also provides highly insightful and very nearly literate analyses of vital regional issues, such as its seminal paper, “Even Arabs Don’t Like Arabs.” But the mindset of the group — whose members now stalk the corridors of power in Imperial Washington — is perhaps best displayed in its thoughtful 2001 treatise, “A Petition Demanding War Against Governments That Sponsor Terrorism” (Except, of course, for governments who enforce their will by the ever-present threat and use of violence — i.e. terrorism — but are run by nice white men educated at Yale and Oxford.)

Here, the proto-Bushist group demands that six “rogue nations” — Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya and Sudan — “turn over their governments to the United States” on pain of massive military response. The United States will then “occupy these territories until proper governments” — ones that allow “long-term access” to major military bases, no doubt — “can be established.” And just how massive should that threatened U.S. military response be? The USCFL is, as always, admirably — and brutally — forthright: “America must set a clear example-identical to that of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. If you tread on me, I will wipe you off the face of the earth.”

Is this what the Bushists are really talking about in their fear-mongering diatribes about seeing “terrorism’s smoking gun in a mushroom cloud”?

CHRIS FLOYD is a columnist for the Moscow Times and a regular contributor to CounterPunch. He can be reached at:


Chris Floyd is a columnist for CounterPunch Magazine. His blog, Empire Burlesque, can be found at

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