The Committee for the Liberation of Iraq bills itself as an NGO comprised of a “distinguished group of Americans” who want to bomb Saddam Hussein out of existence. Of course, NGO is a misnomer for this particular organization because its advisory board is stacked with former government types, including George Shultz. The president of the Committee is Randy Scheunemann, Trent Lott’s former chief national-security adviser. Last year Scheunemann worked for Donald Rumsfeld as a consultant on Iraq policy. The Committee chairman is Bruce P. Jackson, the former vice president of the mega-defense contractor Lockheed Martin. Jackson chaired the Republican Party Platform’s subcommittee for National Security and Foreign Policy when Bush ran for president in 2000. Jackson was also big on expanding the role of NATO — think of all the new weapons that will be required — and headed up a campaign to get Congress to ratify NATO’s eastward expansion. Other NGO types include former Senator Bob Kerrey and former “Drug Czar” Barry McCaffrey. You may remember McCaffrey. As a two-star general and Gulf War “hero,” McCaffrey ordered the massacre of hundreds of retreating soldiers and civilians on the Basra road from Kuwait to southern Iraq.
On November 15 US Newswire released a Committee press release. “The Committee was formed to promote regional peace, political freedom and international security through replacement of the Saddam Hussein regime with a democratic government that respects the rights of the Iraqi people and ceases to threaten the community of nations.”
The Committee press release, however, mentions absolutely nothing about how these objectives will be achieved. But then, considering who is involved with the Committee, we don’t need much of an explanation — in essence, the Committee is a PR front for the Bush attack Iraq policy currently under way full steam ahead. The Committee is little more than an extension of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), an “educational” organization packed with neocons such as William Kristol and Robert Kagan. PNAC, according to its web page, is “dedicated to a few fundamental propositions: that American leadership is good both for America and for the world; that such leadership requires military strength, diplomatic energy and commitment to moral principle.” In other words, Pax Americana installed unilaterally by way of bunker-buster and cluster bomb diplomacy. Lest you think PNAC and the Committee are not joined at the hip, consider who agreed to be an officer of this new (non) NGO — Gary Schmitt, PNAC’s executive director.
The devil is in the details. One such detail concerns retired four star General Wayne Downing, an erstwhile lobbyist for the Iraqi National Congress (INC), the CIA bankrolled “opposition” to Saddam Hussein. It is estimated the CIA forked out between $60 and $70 million to get the INC rolling back in the early 90s. Another detail is Ahmed Chalabi, head of the INC and a former businessman and son of a wealthy banking family who has not stepped foot inside Iraqi since 1956. In 1992, according to the BBC, Chalabi was sentenced in absentia by a Jordanian court to 22 years in prison with hard labor for bank fraud after the 1990 collapse of Petra Bank, which he had founded in 1977. Regardless of Chalabi’s questionable, Enronesque character — as well, the State Department has accused the INC of profligate spending habits and accounting irregularities — Scheunemann, while working for Lott in 1998, drafted the “Iraq Liberation Act” authorizing 98 million dollars for the INC. Clinton never got around to spending the money and the Pentagon has since taken control of it to train the INC. We can only imagine the sort of training the Pentagon is offering.
Neocons are fond of keeping business in the family. Many of the current members and associates of the Committee, PNAC, and The American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research (AEI) were involved with the Committee for Peace and Security in the Gulf (CPSG), a hard right group created prior to the Gulf War. CPSG was co-chaired by Bush chicken hawk Richard Perle along with former New York Democratic Rep. Stephen Solarz. CPSG teamed up with the Bush Senior administration to mobilize support for Iraq Attack, version I. According to Jim Lobe of the Project Against the Present Danger, CPSG received a sizable grant from the Wisconsin-based Lynde & Harry Bradley Foundation, a major funder of both PNAC and AEI. Obviously, these folks like the share the same bed.
The Committee, PNAC, AEI, CPSG — who can tell these so-called NGOs apart without a scorecard? In fact, according to the Sunday Herald, Bush’s Pax Americana plan was sketched out before he was appointed president in 2000. A Bushite rogue’s gallery — consisting of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb Bush, and Lewis “Scooter” Libby — eagerly adopted a document entitled “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategies, Forces And Resources For A New Century” written by PNAC in September 2000. Wolfowitz and Libby had similar ideas as far back as the Bush I administration but were checked and enjoined to silence by Bush’s top foreign policy aides, Brent Scowcroft and James Baker. Wolfowitz and Libby were simply ahead of their time. No such infirmity of purpose exists in the Bush II White House.
The PNAC plan calls for the US to take control of the Gulf region with overwhelming and deadly military force. “While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification,” the PNAC document explains, “the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein.” In other words, Saddam is little more than an excuse for “maintaining global US pre-eminence… and shaping the international security order in line with American principles and interests.” After the PNAC document was leaked to the Sunday Herald, Tam Dalyell, the British Labor MP, hit the nail right on the head when he declared, “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.”
The Committee is little more than a thinly disguised PR front for the Bush War Machine. It would seem the neocons are so arrogant and sanctimonious they don’t even bother to cover their tracks as they march all over the American people and the Constitution in their long-standing zeal to launch “the cavalry on the new American frontier,” which is to say they are bent on invading other nations — specifically, nations that have their own ideas about what should be done with their natural resources, finances, and labor.
David North encapsulated the PNAC-neocon mindset — and hence, the Bush Doctrine — perfectly when he wrote, “The United States government asserts the right to bomb, invade and destroy whatever country it chooses. It refuses to respect as a matter of international law the sovereignty of any other country, and reserves the right to get rid of any regime, in any part of the world, that is, appears to be, or might some day become, hostile to what the United States considers to be its vital interests.”
In essence, the Committee, with all its highfalutin rhetoric about “regional peace, political freedom and international security,” is interested only in an up-to-date version of colonialism to be imposed on Iraq or any other third world nation of interest to transnational corporations. After the bombing and mass murder of innocents is complete in Iraq, Bush will install a military proconsul — more than likely General Tommy Franks in the role of General Douglas MacArthur — and eventually Ahmed Chalabi or one of his toadies will be allowed to supervise a “democratic” Iraq. Like Hamid Karzai (a former Unocal consultant) in Afghanistan, the handpicked leader of Iraq will surely require 24-7 bodyguards to protect him from his own people. No doubt he will break bread with World Bank President James Wolfensohn and kiss the derriere of transnational oil corporations. He will have no choice but to allow US military bases that will be used to attack Iran, Syria, Libya, or any other nation considering deviance from the Pax Americana agenda and transnational-at-the-global-feed-trough game plan.
This is the future envisioned by the Committee, although they choose not to verbalize it in such stark and unambiguous terms. It is their job to convince the American people that bombing and terror in the name of democracy against adventitious enemies is the “moral” thing to do. It is their task to front the Bush Doctrine as selfless American magnanimity — when in fact it is the opposite. It is, finally, their responsibility to obfuscate when possible or render palatable when not the all too real and horrible character of the emergent Bush Doctrine — wholesale murder, mass starvation, environmental degradation, and the subjugation of entire continents and populations in the name of transnational corporate dominion carried forward by the foreordained Bush junta.
KURT NIMMO is a photographer and multimedia developer in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org