Iraq the road to war
- 1 Iraq: the Road to War
- 1.1 The Intelligence War: Rumsfeld's Crazies Versus the CIA
- 1.2 The Oil Triumvirate and Iran's Islamic Revolution 1978-1979
- 1.3 War in the Middle East [commentary]
- 1.4 War in Lebanon
- 1.5 Currency and Empire
- 1.6 Recycling Petro-dollars
- 1.7 A Petro-Euro Rival?
- 1.8 How it all Works Together
- 1.9 The Yom Kippur War
- 1.10 The Ba'athist Party and Iraq's War Versus Iran
- 1.11 The Israeli Connection
- 1.12 Capitalism's Domino Effect
- 1.13 The Iraq Insurgency
- 1.14 The illegality of Iraq war
- 1.15 Beyond War in Iraq
- 2 NOTES AND REFERENCE MATERIAL
- 3 References
- 4 Related SourceWatch articles
Iraq: the Road to War
From John Foster Dulles to the War in Iraq: Understanding Modern Warfare and Global Economics:
- The United States is prepared to use armed forces to assist any nation or group of such nations requesting assistance against armed aggressors from any country controlled by international communism. -John Foster Dulles, 1958
- "The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State." --Dr. Joseph M. Goebbels.
The most tragic element of the Iraq war disaster is not the eventuality of war itself, but the manner in which highly educated men and women as students of history accepted the disinformation and distortion of military intelligence put forward by the Bush administration, which included patently false information and forged documents supporting allegations that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction [and thus posed a military threat to the United States] when in fact it did not; we must assume that Congress was complicit in the Iraq war fraud, or that Congress was misled by senior Bush administration officials in an alleged criminal conspiracy of a magnitude hitherto unknown in American history. The intent to deceive Congress through intentional deception, manipulation and submission of false data [as supplied by the Bush administration] with intent to authorize war versus another sovereign nation on false pretenses, is a crime versus the United States and an unlawful act on the part of the perpetrators.
This paper briefly documents many diverse elements comprising the Bush road to war in Iraq, including:
- Three phases of US economic supremacy since World War 2 and its policies, and the attempt to secure the future of the petro-dollar as a global oil currency while forestalling the dollar's decline
- The Oil Triumvirate, Richard Cheney's Task Force on Energy, the Haifa pipeline and War for Oil
- Bad intelligence and the Pentagon policy arm versus the CIA
- US policy blunders in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and Israel/Palestine since 1947 and the "Clean Break"
- How CIA operations in Iran destabilized and subverted democracy in that country from 1953 thus planting the seeds of modern terror
- America's decline as a world hegemonic power with conversion of US political and military might to factious regional conflict with intent to monopolize and control global energy resources for the foreseeable future. 
- Emergence of the secular Ba'athists and the ideal of the pan-Arab state
- Emergence of the Islamic Republic and American support for Iraq's war versus Iran
Overview [commentary]: Military Power in an Age of Unreason
As Chomsky points out, the nation-state maintains a monopoly of violence, and that monopoly provides the foundation for the state's power. Since the Falklands conflict several 'flash wars' have been initiated by the first world in response to real or imagined instability in the third world, but only when highly desirable political and geo-economic advantages can be leveraged on terms favorable to the global petro-village.
Iraq's history [and indeed the history of the Arab Muslim world] is replete with examples of war and occupation. Since the time of the Crusades various forces have attacked this region from East or West; these attempts at occupation resulted in a shifting political and economic landscape which no single world power ever managed to dominate - invariably occupiers were displaced or forced to retreat in the face of guerilla war or worse, leaving behind a phoenix-like people with tribal identities incomprehensible to most Westerners.
Bush's 2003 plan to invade Iraq originated as "a blueprint for America" in a 1996 think-tank whitepaper with the portentous title: "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm". The "Clean Break" document was written for Israel's then-current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and was prepared by Israel's Institute for Advanced Strategic and Political Studies "The Study Group on a New Israeli Strategy Toward 2000". The main substantive ideas in this paper emerged from a discussion in which prominent Israeli and US Neo-conservatives participated, namely: Richard Perle, James Colbert, Charles Fairbanks Jr, Douglas Feith, Robert Loewenberg, David Wurmser, and Meyrav Wurmser.
The "Clean Break" document itself was authored by Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, David Wurmser and Meyrav Wurmser, James Colbert, and Robert Lowenberg - primary Neo-conservative figures in the Bush administration, as follows: Perle was Chairman of the Defense Policy Review Board from 2001-2003; Feith is currently Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and Wurmser now serves as a senior member on Vice President Richard Cheney's staff.
Topics from the "Clean Break" document arose during Bush's first meeting with his National Security Council on January 30, 2001, a mere ten days after his inauguration. Bush announced his intention to reverse the Clinton policy of interceding between Israel and the Palestinians, eg. Bush would allow Israel free reign in the Palestinian arena, again reminiscent of Ronald Reagan's delegation to Haig-Begin in the early 1980's. 
Israel's Netanyahu rejected the proposal as drafted but George W. Bush approved a modified version of the paper which resurfaced just before he seized power in 2001. Presumably Bush's attention concentrated on the following: "This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq -- an important strategic advantage in its own right."
But Bush was similarly interested in those parts of the document which related to Syria and other Arab countries being "rolled back" while America simultaneously disengaged itself from interference in the 'Palestinian problem'. The idea was for the US to withdraw completely from the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and to allow free reign to the Israelis, much as Reagan/Haig had done at the time of the Israeli-condoned Sabra and Shatila massacres in Lebanon in 1982. In addition the "Clean Break" document advocated military pre-emption and aggression versus perceived regional 'enemies' of the United States, principally Iraq, Syria Iran.  Subsequent to the release of the "Clean Break" document in 1997, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz and Donald Rumsfeld authored a letter to President Clinton calling for military force to be used in the ouster of Saddam Hussein, urging his removal as a primary "aim of American foreign policy".
It is clear that this flawed foundation for war in Iraq - the concept of pre-emption and unprovoked aggression in the willful pursuit of war - constitutes a major catastrophe and foreign policy failure for the United States of America. The United States has failed to appreciate the one key element of global militaristic and economic domination, eg. that all wars must be fought with an eye to securing near-term and long-term goals of political, economic and social stability once the military ends have been achieved.
The foregoing totally ignores any moral justifications for war. Regardless as to whether the global petro-village (GPV) is morally right or wrong in its motivations, the ends must be seen to justify the means in order to maintain political will and ensure the intended future political alliances as well as economic success in the GPV sphere of influence. And to this point Iraq has proven to be an ultimate political failure for the Bush regime: by misunderstanding the true ramifications of the Iraq invasion, and with no real plan or exit strategy in such a volatile theater of operations, Iraq has become a truly major blunder for the Bush administration. But the purpose of this paper is to comprehensively describe the political, economic, historical and cultural background on the road to war in Iraq.
The Intelligence War: Rumsfeld's Crazies Versus the CIA
The intelligence war was a critical part of a broader offensive by prominent Pentagon Neo-conservative civilians within the Bush administration, versus the entire US establishment's historical quest for peace in the Middle East; the 'establishment' included the State Department, Pentagon military experts and CIA area specialists. Central to the quest for peace was an apparatus consisting of Foreign-policy/Defense and intelligence agencies, along with senior officials who were adamantly opposed to the bad intelligence fuelling the Bush administration's siren call for war in Iraq.
A core base of approximately two-dozen prominent Neo-conservative hawks were behind the strategy for war devised by Vice President Richard Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and the Bush administration's core support for Neo-conservative hawks effectively quashed all opposition to the Iraq war. But the Neoconservative case for war was driven at its heart by four radical civilian extremists in senior Pentagon positions: Richard Perle, Chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board; Paul Wolfowitz; Douglas Feith and David Wurmser.
However the case for war in Iraq was based upon bad intelligence purchased from Ahmed Chalabi and the Iraqi National Congress (INC), a shadowy group of anti-Saddam agents whose paymasters were the aforementioned civilian Pentagon Neo-conservatives. [5b] Meanwhile Middle East specialists, uniformed military officers and CIA operatives alike were marginalized by the Neocons, and their views on Iraq were ignored by the Bush administration at every level. "I've heard from people on the Middle East staff in the Pentagon," says Borg, referring to the staff under neocon Peter Rodman, the assistant secretary of defense for International Security Affairs. "The Middle East experts in those offices are as cut off from the policy side as people in the State Department are."
But the sharpest battle was fought between the Pentagon's civilian Neo-conservative hawks and the CIA. "There is tremendous pressure on [the CIA] to come up with information to support policies that have already been adopted," says Vincent Cannistraro, a former senior CIA official and counterterrorism expert. But the CIA was not in tune with the Neo-conservative version of reality, and whenever the CIA attempted to provide objective, unbiased intelligence to the White House such intelligence was invariably rejected. Ironically, CIA director Tenet had no problem adopting the Neo-con predilection for war so favored by Richard Cheney and the White House, and Tenet's statement [linking Iraq and al-Qaeda] was a significant departure from the consensus view among intelligence professionals. Prior to the 911 attacks intelligence experts rejected the notion that Iraq provided any support to al-Qaeda, and intelligence experts continue to reject the notion today.
Daniel Benjamin co-author of The Age of Sacred Terror, was Director of Counterterrorism at the National Security Council (NSC) in the late 1990s; Benjamin's group oversaw a comprehensive review of Iraq and its relation to terrorism, and the group concluded that there was no relation. "In 1998, we went through every piece of intelligence we could find to see if there was a link [between] al-Qaeda and Iraq," says Benjamin. "We came to the conclusion that our intelligence agencies had it right: there was no noteworthy relationship between al-Qaeda and Iraq. I know that for a fact. No other issue has been as closely scrutinized as this one."
Furthermore, the State Department's annual review with regard to state-sponsored terrorism concluded that there was no link between Hussein and Al-Qaeda. "It's demoralizing to a number of the analysts," says Cannistraro. "The analysts are human, and some of them are also ambitious. What you have to worry about is the 'chill factor.' If people are ignoring your intelligence, and the Pentagon and NSC keep telling you, 'What about this? What about this? Keep looking!' -- well, then you start focusing on one thing instead of the other thing, because you know that's what your political masters want to hear."
One of the main sources of Defense Department pressure on the CIA was the Orwellian sounding "Office of Special Plans" a rump intelligence unit created by Defense Undersecretary Douglas Feith. The OSP was established to provide Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz with data expressly designed to disparage, undermine and contradict the CIA's Iraq intelligence, and furthermore to incite the American people to war. Established post 9-11, the unit's primary focus related to Iraq's alleged links to al-Qaeda, and focussed on Iraq's alleged intent to use nuclear, chemical and biological weapons versus Israel and the West.
In a controversial briefing at the Pentagon [possibly intended to be humorous] Rumsfeld noted that the primary purpose of the OSP was to provide Rumsfeld with ammunition that would allow him to harass a CIA staffer who was briefing him every morning, presumably with intelligence that he refused to accept. "In comes the briefer, and she walks through the daily brief and I ask questions," said Rumsfeld. "What I could do is say, 'Gee, what about this? Or what about that? Has somebody thought of this?'" With their access to reams of intelligence facts and 'plausible disinformation' Feith's team could easily create a steady stream of data bits for Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Feith - "intelligence" which actually consisted of manufactured disinformation designed to pick apart the CIA's conclusions, thus sending the CIA's analysts back to rewrite their reports.
The fact that the Office of Special Plans was overseen by Douglas Feith [a radical partisan extremist who has consistently called for outright war versus Palestinians] immediately discredited the organization and raised fundamental questions about its impartiality. "It's one thing to create a unit to provide an independent look, and it's another thing to go on a fishing expedition," says Benjamin, the former NSC official. "The fact that this unit has been there for more than a year suggests that it is a fishing expedition."
Feith appointed fellow Neo-conservative extremists, William Luti and Abram Shulsky to staff the Office of Special Plans, and Strauss disciple Shulsky was another key member of the Perle-Wolfowitz group of radicals. When Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) was elected to the Senate in 1976, he "brought with him some of [Sen. Henry M.] Jackson's most militantly neoconservative former aides, among them Elliott Abrams, Chester Finn, Abram Shulsky and Gary Schmitt," according to a 1986 account in The Washington Post.
Perle was also a former Henry "Scoop" Jackson aide, and Shulsky, Perle and many kindred thinkers worked in Reagan's Department of Defense in the 1980's. Shulsky also did significant time at the Consortium for the Study of Intelligence, a project of the National Strategy Information Center (NSIC), and at the RAND Corporation. At RAND, along with other fellow neocons, including Lewis "Scooter" Libby - now Richard Cheney's chief of staff - Shulsky contributed a study called "From Containment to Global Leadership: America and the World after the Cold War". That study was a forerunner of the "Clean Break" document which promoted the Orwellian idea of pre-emptive war as a means to enforce the peace.
The OSP and Cheney's Pentagon policy arm supplied the bulk of the false/bogus Iraq intelligence to a compliant media, much of it based upon specific false information supplied to them by the INC and by Israeli intelligence. While US media operations never questioned the bogus intelligence on Iraq and accepted it as fact, Colin Powell rejected the "script" supplied by Feith's Israeli/INC operation in preparation for Powell's address to the United Nations Security Council on February 5th, 2003. For the UNSC presentation, Powell rejected Rumsfeld's false and fictional Iraqi National Council and Israeli-inspired intelligence, and he used the National Intelligence Council's 'National Intelligence Estimate' on Iraq instead, even though the NIE material contained almost as many inaccuracies as the Neo-con Israeli/INC material did.
Chalabi's Bogus Iraqi National Congress [5b]
Rumsfeld's Pentagon operatives and their war against the CIA relied heavily upon bogus intelligence from the Iraqi National Congress, a group established by the discredited Ahmed Chalabi, under Paymasters and handlers reporting to Feith himself. Most Iraq experts considered the INC's intelligence-gathering capabilities to be exactly nil. Yet, Perle, Woolsey and the Pentagon's policymakers, used the INC as their primary source of information about Iraq's weapons programs and Iraq's supposed relationship to international terrorism. "A lot of what is useful with respect to what's going on in Iraq is coming from defectors, and furthermore they are defectors who have often come through an organization, namely, the INC, that neither [the] State [Department] nor the CIA likes very much," according to former CIA director Woolsey.
Early in 2004 the State Department abruptly stopped funding the INC's schemes to collect intelligence inside Iraq. "The INC could only account for $2.5 million out of $4.5 million they received for the program," says a State Department official. "I can't say that there was evidence of corruption or embezzlement, but $2 million was unaccounted for." Rumsfeld's hawks privately funded the INC and their "intelligence gathering" activities [via the State Department] a situation which created tremendous tension between the State Department and Rumsfeld's Pentagon extremists. "The only reason they stopped paying for that program is that the State Department hates the INC," says a knowledgeable source. The situation was therefore altered so that the INC's 'intelligence' could be funded and delivered directly to the Department of Defense. According to Col. David Lapan. "The intelligence guys here get the information first and do the analysis," he says. Goodman, the former CIA analyst, concurs, saying, "The INC is in the Pentagon every day."
Pentagon critics were appalled to learn that intelligence provided by the INC was used to shape US policy with regard to the war in Iraq, an unlawful and criminal state of affairs, since taxpayer funds were misused to instigate an illegal war based upon intentionally false data. The CIA and the State Department viewed Ahmed Chalabi, the INC's leader, as the point man representing a corrupt organization skilled at lobbying and public relations, but totally inept at gathering real intelligence. [See "Tinker, Banker, Neocon, Spy," tap, Nov. 18.] "The [INC's] intelligence isn't reliable at all," says Cannistraro. "Much of it is propaganda. Much of it is telling the Defense Department what they want to hear. And much of it is used to support Chalabi's own presidential ambitions. They make no distinction between intelligence and propaganda, using alleged informants and defectors who say what Chalabi wants them to say, [creating] cooked information that goes right into presidential and vice-presidential speeches." Adds Cannistraro, "They're willing to twist information in order to serve that interest. They've opened up a channel at the Pentagon to collect intelligence from Iraqi exiles, using people off the books, contractors. It's getting pretty close to an Iran-Contra type of situation."
The hostility of the Neo-cons toward the CIA on Iraq is key to understanding the root of bad intelligence and the unlawful foundation upon which the war in Iraq was sold. Quoting Perle himself: [The CIA's analysis of Iraq] "isn't worth the paper it's written on," and he adds that the CIA is afraid of rocking the ark in the Middle East. "The CIA is status-quo oriented," said Perle. "They don't want to take risks. They don't like the INC because they only like to work with people they can control."
The Oil Triumvirate and Iran's Islamic Revolution 1978-1979
Revolutionary Iran's active, high level, and persistent support of SAIRI [Shia anti-Hussein] activities inside Iraq is designed to undermine the Hussein regime and pave the way for the establishment of an Iranian-type Islamic government in Iraq. 
America's covert influence within Iran did not end with the installation of the Shah Reza Pahlavi, however details on American covert activities within Iran from 1953 to 1979 are beyond the scope of this paper. It is most notable that the Shah was installed in power by the United States and likewise the US participated in removing the Shah from power; America therefore had a direct role in the Shah's rise and fall due to Iran's extreme strategic importance as an oil exporting nation.
Remarkably, the rise of Iran's embryonic Islamic Republic and aggressive Arab nationalization of the Arab and Persian oil cartels crystallized between 1973 and 1979 with the ascendance of OPEC as a key global oil exporting entity. [One curious Iraq war question relates to the manner in which Iraq - as a sovereign nation and not occupied by a foreign power - will ever participate in future OPEC activities should Iraq ever seriously resume oil exports.]
The nationalization of Iraq's oil industry took place between 1972 and 1974, and this event effectively electrified Iraqis and stunned the oil industry worldwide. Iraq's nationalization of its oil industry set the oil kingdom dominoes falling throughout the Persian Gulf and the OPEC nations, as other countries ousted the multinationals and created state-owned enterprises. Eventually, even Saudi Arabia seized control of all-powerful Aramco Oil, the titanic consortium of Exxon, Mobil, Texaco and Chevron which had long been the petro-colossus of the Persian Gulf. Now, cautiously, the oil industry foresaw a war in Iraq as a way to win back what had been lost.
With regard to the Road to War in Iraq, the oil triumvirate itself is an extremely important entity. The Oil Triumvirate is simply the geologic triangle of Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia, where the tremendous strategic importance of world energy supplies cannot be calculated, estimated or imagined.
We can see that with the collapse of influence in any one leg of the Triumvirate then the entire apparatus tends to become unstable; when two legs of the Triumvirate collapse then the dynamic becomes untenable. And this is the precise state of affairs with regard to Iran since 1979 and with Iraq since 1991 - essentially major oil exports from two legs of the Oil Triumvirate were lost to the United States.
Of course the United States could not allow two-thirds of the Oil Triumvirate to be lost to it and the logical conclusion follows, that domination of the Oil Triumvirate is not limited to Iraq: Saudi Arabia and Iran also participate in the triangle. The Islamic Republic of Iran has been counted out within the US sphere of influence, but influence over Saudi affairs and the Iraq occupation has reformed the Middle Eastern energy resource equation.
We briefly consider the third leg of the Oil Triumvirate, namely Saudi Arabia, and the unique problems the House of Saud presents for America's re-design of the Middle East.
"Even in Saudi Arabia, all we can do is buy their oil," says an American oil company official. U.S. companies, this executive confirmed, want to return to greater direct control, perhaps through so-called production-sharing agreements that would give them both a direct stake in the oil fields and a greater share of the profits.
Ultimately US neoconservatives and US oil executives look beyond Iraq and even Iran to their ultimate prize in Saudi Arabia. Since the first oil embargo of the 1970's political scientists have proposed and American occupation of Saudi Arabia's oil fields. The occupation of Saudi oil fields has been a cherished vision for a small but influential circle of political insiders and strategists from George H Bush to Richard Cheney. In 2001 Richard Perle invited a RAND Corporation analyst to speak to the Defense Policy Board on exactly that topic. Earlier in 2002 an article entitled "Free the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia," by Hudson Institute founder Max Singer suggested that the United States should help create a Muslim Republic of East Arabia. "I meant it seriously," says Singer. "Saudi Arabia is vulnerable not only to a U.S. seizure of their land but to U.S. unofficial participation in a rebellion by minority Shi'a in the Eastern Province." The Eastern Province, which is largely Shi'a, happens to include the vast bulk of Saudi Arabia's oil fields.
Finally, consider the following lofty Neo-conservative notion: that America's control of the currency hegemon and the energy commodity itself [and in conjunction with the IMF and G-8 financial institutions whilst marginalizing the United Nations] enables America to effectively secure its position as a primary world economic leader for the forseeable future. Therefore the next logical step in US domination of the Oil Triumvirate is to leverage more effective control of Saudi Arabia's energy resources while, at the same time, provoking a new conflict for control of Iran.
Richard Cheney and the Task Force on Energy
Fadel Gheit, Oil Analyst at Oppenheimer & Co's New York Office reports:
A select group of oil company executives met with Bush administration energy officials in the spring of 2001 for secret high level discussions regarding Iraq's oil reserves.
Iraq is nestled in the heart of an area of heaviest oil concentration in the world with easy accessibility - no permafrost, no deep water, just giant pools of oil right beneath the warm ground. Iraq has vast quantities of untapped and easily accessible oil, almost untouched.
"Think of Iraq as virgin territory .... This is bigger than anything Exxon is involved in currently .... It is the superstar of the future," says Gheit, "That's why Iraq becomes the most sought-after real estate on the face of the earth."
Gheit just smiles at the notion that oil was not a major factor in the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Gheit compares Iraq to Russia, which also has large undeveloped oil reserves. But Russia has nuclear weapons. "We can't just go over and ... occupy (Russian) oil fields," says Gheit. "It's a different ballgame."
Iraq, however, was defenceless and utterly lacking in weapons of mass destruction [ironically] thus making it a particularly easy target. And its location nestled between Saudi Arabia and Iran, makes Iraq an ideal location for an ongoing US military presence from which the US will control the entire Gulf region.
Gheit smiles again: "Think of Iraq as a military base with a very large oil reserve underneath .... You can't ask for better than that."
Although the Bush administration vociferously objected, another Task Force sourced document was released under court order, entitled "Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfields". The "Foreign Suitors" document identifies 63 oil companies from 30 countries and specifies the particular Iraqi oil fields each company was interested in and the status of relevant negotiations with Saddam Hussein's regime on their exploitation. Royal Dutch/Shell, Russia's Lukoil and France's Total/Elf Aquitaine, were all identified as potential developers in the fabulous, 25-billion-barrrel Majnoon oil field. Baghdad had "agreed in principle" to the French company's plans to develop this major oil holding in Iraq, however Cheney's Energy Task Force could not allow plans for French exploitation of the Iraqi fields to proceed.
Cheney's Energy Task Force documents have attracted surprisingly little attention, despite their possible relevance to the question of Washington's 'mysterious' motives for its invasion of Iraq.Certainly any suggestion that private oil interests were in any way involved is hooted down with charges of conspiracy theory. However the documents suggest that those who took part in the Cheney task force -- including senior oil company executives -- were very interested in Iraq's oil and also specifically interested in the possibility of Iraq's oil falling into the hands of foreign [non-US] oil companies, rather than into the rightful hands of the US oil corporates.
As the documents show, prior to Bush's invasion, foreign oil companies were nicely positioned for future oil exploration and exploitation in Iraq, while major US corporates were shut out fo the Iraqi oil picture after a dozen years of US-Iraqi hostilities; indeed, the US majors would have been the big losers if UN sanctions against Iraq had simply been lifted. "The US majors stand to lose if Saddam makes a deal with the UN (on lifting sanctions)," noted a report by Germany's Deutsche Bank in October 2002.
We therefore arrive at a central point: The United States could not allow sanctions versus Iraq to be lifted upon completion of the UN Inspector's work there, because the exploitation of the tremendous Majnoon oil resources would then be fully open to a foreign corporate while Saddam Hussein would remain in power, and the US would remain shut out of a major new source of oil reserves. 
In addition, it is useful to consider Greg Palast's work (20) that bin Laden's 1996 declaration of war vs the United States was made on the basis of America's occupation of Mecca and Medina, and the US threat to the "largest oil reserve in the world". Based on Cheney's Energy Task Force work, it is probable that oil executives (and senior corporate decision-makers) believed both Osama and Saddam Hussein presented a significant threat to middle eastern oil supply mechanisms and the GPV.
War in the Middle East [commentary]
The war on terror is widely touted in the media as an essential core political ideal in the current phase, but the "war on terror" is certainly an artificial construct intended to reinforce desired opinions and behaviors among first world populations, and in no way approaches any real or imagined ideal state of affairs with regard to the conduct of foreign policy.
The "war on terror" is a favored distortion of global petro-village rhetoric because this construct of misunderstanding conveniently masks the monopoly of violence already maintained by the state itself. The foundation for the so-called "war on terror" is the state's promotion [and defense] of its own ability to control populations through propaganda, disinformation, fear and violence; however the Third World War versus third world populations - including Iraq - is certainly a very real war, presently and historically.
America's Military Power since World War 2: The United States achieved superpower status as a weapons manufacturer of first resort until the Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight in the early 1990's. Instead of reaping the so-called 'peace dividend' the US discovered that it too lost the cold war by relying upon its weapons manufacturing base to support its economy. Post-1991 the US faced a choice similar to that of the former USSR: face economic ruin or find new markets for US weapons. Besides new aggressive/interventionist foreign policies the result of this lost cold war is apparent in the state's inability to contain conditions under which [popular notions of] terrorism may thrive.
It is therefore logical to ignore the artificial construct of the "war on terror" and refer to the real war in the third world as Petrol War 1 or the Third World War, which began in earnest with explosive violence in Lebanon's civil war of 1975/76, following the western oil crisis and the Yom Kippur war of 1973, and the floating of the dollar in 1971; these four noteworthy events are inextricably linked in time, cause and purpose. We shall briefly consider each event and its contribution to the road to war in Iraq.
War in Lebanon
The United States is prepared to use armed forces to assist any nation or group of such nations requesting assistance against armed aggressors from any country controlled by international communism. -- Dulles, 1958
The road to war in Iraq begins in Iran with the US-led 1953 coup which ousted the democratically elected government of Mossadegh; but the road to ideological confrontation begins in Lebanon where terrorism, unholy political alliances and a US failure to lead and/or constructively participate in middle eastern affairs ultimately leads to continuing escalation of violent conflict.
The global petro-village came of age with the first true oil crisis and Arab oil embargoes of the early 1970's. Then as today powerful economic forces dictated a sea-change in diplomatic relations, and Lebanon's melting pot of radical religious groups, assorted martyrs, New Phoenician business people and influx of radical Palestinians conspired to create an unholy political powder keg destined to explode.
Historically Lebanon was viewed as the Asian-western edge of Christendom while the Lebanese christians considered themselves as the eastern-most inhabitants of western Christendom. And until 1973 Lebanon played an important role as a business/banking hub for the West in the Middle east and business staging area for oil exploration; however the onset of the first energy crisis and Arab oil emabargo of 1973 crippled Lebanon's influence, and with this eclipse the smoldering socio-economic underbelly exploded.
From the early 1970's Lebanon has been a violent playground for various middle eastern power factions whether Muslim, Palestinian, Syrian, Israeli, Maronite/Christian, American or European. Specifically and to the point, the conflicts in Lebanon, even into antiquity, may be seen as a microcosm of the religious, political, social and economic conflict that we experience in the Middle East and indeed throughout the world today.
Principally Beirut was a center for Palestinian fedayeen activity and specifically, the 1972 Sabena hijacking, Lod airport shootings and Munich massacre of Israeli athletes were all masterminded by Palestinian terror groups in Beirut at the time. Lebanon's sympathy for radical Palestinians, coupled with a changing business and economic climate in a land known for its hotbed of politico-religious splinter groups was bound to be the Lebanon's undoing.
Significantly within Lebanon and the civil war of 1975 until the subsequent Israeli-led invasion in 1982, we see new developments in new-age concepts of terrorism [for exammple airline hijacking and high-profile hostage-taking] and in Lebanon we also see unusual political alliances among diparate religious groups, for example among Maronites and Israelis.
The Israeli-Palestinian War in Lebanon, 1982
The Israeli-Palestinian war was initiated by Israel in 1982 and deserves special mention because the background and concept of the war includes many parallels to the Bush invasion and occupation of Iraq; in typical doublespeak worthy of any bureaucrat today Israel called its war on the Palestinians "Operation Peace for Gallilee" and the irony when compared to America's war on Iraq called "Operation Iraqi Freedom" is immediately apparent.
By 1981/82 the Begin-Sharon government could no longer tolerate the perceived PLO threat on its northern border especially after the shellings of Gallilee with many Israeli fatalities, and the Reaganite extremist General Haig now allowed Israel free reign with zero US intervention; the UN was perceived by Reaganites as a thorn in the side of Israel's attempt to finally end all Palestinian resistance.
Certainly the high-point of Palestinian resistance, Israel's massive invasion of Lebanon failed to defeat the PLO in spite of glaring odds in Israel's favor. A stalemate in the fighting caused a UN attempt to broker peace - Israeli propaganda represented the stalemate as a strategic halt due their unforseen rapid advance on Beirut beyond the 40 KM perimeter originally envisaged by Sharon - but the fact is that Israel could not decisively defeat the PLO militia by June 13th, 1982.
This is the mystery and untold wonder of modern military history, that Israel's massive military machine which included one-half million soldiers in over seventy Army brigades, over eight thousand armored vehicles, five hundred advanced combat aircraft, ninety naval vessels, and billions of dollars in military funding [courtesy of the American taxpayer] yet could not decisively defeat a rag-tag improvised and poorly armed militia of approximately fifteen-thousand Palestinians.
UN Security Council resolution 509 demanded Israel's withdrawal of all troops from Lebanon but Israel ignored the resolution and surrounded Beirut, with two key Palestinian camps under siege. In an alliance with Maronite Christians, the state of Israel and CIA  allowed Maronite terrorists to enter the Shatila, Sabra and Tal PLO camps. Official Red Cross figures put the number of dead Palestinian civilians at 543, however independent sources estimate the number of massacred Palestinian civilians to be far higher.  Certainly Israel's free reign in targeting Palestinian civilians now peaked under Reagan's regime where Alexander Haig failed to provide the US brake on Israel's military activities, a brake that maintained some sort of uneasy balance of power in the region since 1948.
Under heavy fire from the newly found Lebanese Resistance, Israel partially withdrew from central Lebanon in 1984 and 1985 but enlarged its occupation of the southern part of the country up to the area of Jezzine. On April 11, 1996, following an escalation in intermittent skirmishes, Israel commenced a bombardment of southern Lebanon and certain other targets in Lebanon, including the southern suburbs of Beirut. On April 27, 1996 a cease-fire "April Understanding" came into effect. The cease-fire was based on a written but unsigned agreement drawn up by France and the United States and setting out a position mutually acceptable to Israel, Syria and Lebanon, which expanded and consolidated oral cease-fire understandings reached in July 1993. These arrangements established an international group composed of representatives of the United States, France, Syria, Lebanon and Israel to monitor the cease-fire.
On May 24, 2000, Israel withdrew its troops from a large territory in southern Lebanon which Israel has occupied since 1978. A significant issue relating to the withdrawal remains unsettled: certain villages and adjacent land on the eastern side of Alsheikh Mountain, known as the “Shebaa Farms” have been occupied by Israel since 1967; the Lebanese government has advised the United Nations that it considers this area to be Lebanese territory and, as such, the withdrawal must encompass the Shebaa Farms. At a news conference in Paris, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad announced that Damascus will demarcate their countries' border with Lebanon at Shebaa Farms after Israel withdraws from the region. Because of this, many Lebanese people feel that Syria is fighting a war by proxy with Israel on Lebanese soil.
The conflict in Lebanon is inextricably intertwined with Bush's war in Iraq, complicated by regional territorial wars such as the Shebaa Farms and the Haifa oil pipeline project which ran from Kirkuk in Iraq to the port of Tripoli in Lebanon.
The Haifa pipeline
There is ample evidence that the plan to reopen the Haifa pipeline [closed in 1948] from Iraq to Israel has been in the works for many years, with Henry Kissinger an early progenitor of the project. James Akins, a former US ambassador to the region and one of America's leading Arabists explains: "There would be a fee for transit rights through Jordan, just as there would be fees for Israel from those using what would be the Haifa terminal. After all, this is a new world order now. This is what things look like particularly if we wipe out Syria. It just goes to show that it is all about oil, for the United States and its ally Israel."
Akins was ambassador to Saudi Arabia before he was fired after a series of conflicts with then Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, father of the vision to pipe oil west from Iraq. "Operation: Free Iraq Oil" dates back to 1975, when Kissinger signed what forms the basis for the Haifa project: a Memorandum of Understanding whereby the US would guarantee Israel's oil reserves and energy supply in exchange for political favors. Kissinger was also master of the American plan in the mid-Eighties - when Saddam Hussein was a key US ally - to run an oil pipeline from Iraq to Aqaba in Jordan, opposite the Israeli port of Eilat.
The plan was promoted at the time by Donald Rumsfeld, and the pipeline was to be built by the Bechtel company, which the Bush administration has now awarded multi-billion dollar contracts for the reconstruction of Iraq. The memorandum has been quietly renewed every five years, with special legislation attached whereby the US stocks strategic oil reserves for Israel even if it entails domestic shortages. In 2002 the cost of ensuring Israeli reserves by these means cost US taxpayers $3 billion. However the new Iraqi pipeline will slash these costs with the added advantage of giving the US reliable access to a new source of Gulf oil.
An anonymous senior CIA source maintains: "It has long been a dream of a powerful section of the people now driving this administration [of President George W. Bush] and the war in Iraq to safeguard Israel's energy supply as well as that of the United States. The Haifa pipeline was something that existed, was resurrected as a dream and is now a viable project."
Currency and Empire
F. William Engdahl: The New American Century: Three Phases
We can identify several distinct phases of America's status as world power since World War 2 and the first phase began about 1945-1948 with the onset of the Cold War; the financial foundation for this phase was based upon the Bretton-Woods gold exchange system. Under the Bretton-Woods system, the immediate post-war phase was relatively tranquil in terms of foreign policy and the US emerged from World War 2 as the one sole superpower with a strong industrial base and the largest gold reserves of any nation. The initial task was to rebuild Western Europe and to create a NATO Atlantic alliance opposed to the Soviet Union's communist regime. The US dollar was directly pegged to gold and America enjoyed the largest gold reserves in the world so the US economy was by far the most productive and efficient.
From the French franc to the German mark the entire Bretton-Woods currency structure was relatively stable; dollar credits were extended along with Marshall Plan assistance to finance the rebuilding of war-torn Europe. American companies and oil multinationals founded the global petro-village and benefited enormously with their domination of world trade during the 1950's. Washington encouraged the creation of the Treaty of Rome in 1958 in order to boost European economic stability and create larger U.S. export markets to boot. This initial phase of the new 'American Century' was relatively benign and beneficial to both American and European interests - the United States had the economic flexibility and muscle to economically dominate and guide world markets.
The first phase of the American Century was an era of Neo-liberal foreign policy because the United States was the hegemonic power and the US commanded overwhelming gold and economic resources in comparison to Western Europe, Japan and South Korea. At this time the US opened trade relations with Europe and Japan, and in exchange for this new trade Europe and Japan supported America's dominant role during the Cold War vs the Soviet.
During the 1950's and early 1960's the US reduced its reliance upon direct military coercion and stressed policy consensus, whether in GATT trade rounds or elsewhere, and this is defined by the dual nature of the hegemon, namely coercion combined with investment/cooperation. Organization of the elite, such as the Bilderberg meetings, were organized to share in consensus that evolved between Europe and the United States.
This first benign phase of the American Century came to an end early in the 1970's due to severe testing of the Bretton-Woods gold exchange system principally because of emerging European economic influence as a strong exporter. Europe's growing economic strength coincided with soaring US public deficits under Lyndon Johnson with the tragic escalation of the Viet Nam war. During the 1960's France began to take dollar export earnings and demand gold from the US Federal Reserve in lieu of dollars, a perfectly legitimate demand at that time under the Bretton-Woods system. But by November of 1967 the drain and strain on gold from Anglo-US bank vaults became critical.
The weak link in the Bretton-Woods gold exchange system was Britain itself, the contemporary 'Sick Man of Europe' based upon loss of empire. The Bretton-Woods system was severly tested in 1967 when sterling was traumatically devalued and this devaluation accelerated the pressure on the U.S. dollar, as France and other central banks increased their gold exchange calls vs dollar reserves. Due to the Viet Nam war and huge US budget deficits, currency traders calculated that the US would shortly be forced to devalue their currency v gold, and it was desirable for traders to get out of the system with gold at the highest possible levels.
The gold drain on the US Federal Reserve was a cause for serious alarm by May of 1971, and even the Bank of England joined France in demanding US gold for their dollars. The Nixon Administration opted to abandon gold entirely rather than risk a collapse of US gold reserves, and opted for a floating currency system in August of 1971.
The break with gold opened the door to a new phase of the American Century and in this new phase, control over monetary policy was in effect privatized, with large international banks such as Citibank, Chase, and Barclays assuming the role of global centralized bankers in a gold system, but without the gold! So-called market forces determined the floating dollar's level - and they did so with a vengeance. The free floating dollar combined with the 1973 rise in OPEC oil prices subsequent to the Yom Kippur War and created the foundation for the second phase of the American Century, the so-called petro-dollar phase.
By the mid-1970's US economic dominance experienced dramatic trauma when severe Anglo-American oil shortages created enormous demand for the new floating dollar. Germany, Japan and other oil importers were economically forced to export goods in dollars to pay for expensive new oil imports. OPEC oil countries were flooded with New Oil Dollars [NODs] which they forwarded to New York/London banks where a new process was instituted, a process which Henry Kissinger called "recycling petro-dollars". This new recycling strategy was discussed in May 1971 at the Bilderberger meeting in Saltsjoebaden, Sweden and was presented by American members of the Bilderberg, as detailed in the book Mit der Ö¬waffe zur Weltmacht and it worked as follows:
By 1976 OPEC was choking on billions of surplus US dollars, so US/UK banks provided OPEC dollars as Eurodollar loans and bonds to third world countries, countries desperately in need of funding for their own expensive oil imports. The loans were often underwritten by US bonds and financial instruments thus providing direct benefits to the US Treasury. But by 1980 this 'round robin' loan effect [in conjunction with the build-up of massive petro-dollar debt] provided the foundation for a major third world debt crisis when hundreds of billions of dollars cycled between OPEC, London/New York banks, and third world borrowers. 
By August of 1982 the magic circle broke again when Mexico announced its debt defaults while the US Federal Reserve unilaterally escalated the crisis by hiking interest rates to an alarming level in an effort to stem the decline of the dollar. US interest rates maintained record highs for three years to 'save' the dollar via usurious interest rates, while the third world suffered crippling debt in its developing economic sector. To enforce debt repayment to first world banks the IMF acted as a 'debt policeman' while public spending for health, education, and welfare was slashed on IMF orders to ensure banks received timely debt service on their petrodollar accounts.
The petro-dollar hegemony phase was an attempt by the establishment to slow US geopolitical decline as the hegemonic center of global trade while the postwar system overall eroded in a sea of bad debt for oil. The IMF "Washington Consensus" was developed to enforce draconian debt collection on third world countries, and to force third world countries to repay dollar debts while preventing economic independence in South America, and to keep US banks and dollars afloat.
Meanwhile the Trilateral Commission was created by David Rockefeller and others in 1973 to accommodate Japan's emergence as an industrial giant, in an effort to bring Japan fully into the dollar trading system. Japan, a major industrial nation, was a major importer of oil and Japanese trade surpluses accumulated from the export of autos and other goods and allowed Japan to buy oil in dollars. The remaining surplus was invested in US Treasury bonds to earn interest and so the G-7 was founded as a means of keeping Japan and Western Europe within the dollar system. Variously, divergent voices within Japan itself would call for three currencies: US dollar, German mark and yen to share the world reserve role but it never happened in any significant way, the dollar always remained dominant.
From a very narrow historical viewpoint the petro-dollar phase of hegemonic consensus seemed to work, but underlying the system was an ever-worsening economic collapse in living standards as IMF policies destroyed national economic growth and broke open markets for globalizing multinationals which continuously seek cheaper production and outsourcing opportunities, then as today. However during all petro-dollar phases American foreign economic policy and military policy was dominant among all voices of the traditional liberal consensus. As a hegemon American power depended upon negotiating periodic new arrangements in trade or other issues with its allies in Europe, Japan and East Asia.
A Petro-Euro Rival?
The end of the Cold War and the emergence of the European Monetary Union in the early 1990's presented an entirely new challenge to the status quo. A decade would pass [eg post-1991 Gulf War] until the emergence of the new EU challenge to US currency hegemony by 2001. The present Iraq war is only intelligible in this context as a major new battle in the third and latest phase of securing American dominance, this new phase has already been called 'democratic imperialism' [a favorite term of Irving Kristol and other Neo-conservatives] and as events in Iraq suggest, the new phase is not Democratic but is certainly imperialist.
In the new phase any potential for US benevolence in granting concessions to other members of the G-7 is removed and coercion must replace benevolence in the long-held carrot-and-stick formula for maintaining American dominance; thus the US is converted from a Neo-liberal society leaning toward democracy to a Neo-conservative military republic, but not necessarily a constitutional one. The best expression of this argument comes from Neo-conservative think tanks and publishings of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), Scaife Foundation, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, William Kristol, Richard Cheney and others. While some may decry the foregoing as politically motivated rhethoric, the ultimate intention is to stress the political, ideological and rhetorical nature of the road to war in Iraq.
Instead of working out new areas of mutual agreement with European partners, Washington increasingly perceived Europe as an evolving strategic threat to the American hegemon, especially Old Europe: Germany and France. Just as Britain's decline after 1870 incubated increasingly desperate imperial wars in defence of its empire in South Africa and elsewhere, so the United States is using its military might to try and advance itself in a manner no longer consistent with its formerly powerful economic base, since the economic base of the United States has largely deteriorated into that of a major weapons producer, to whit there is an increasingly limited world market; and here the dollar is the achilles heel of the United States.
With the creation of the Euro over the past five years an entirely new element has been added to the global system, one which defines what we may call a third phase of the American Century. This third phase, in which the latest Iraq war plays a major role, threatens to bring a new malignant and imperial phase to replace the earlier phases of American hegemony. The Neo-conservatives are quite adamant about their imperial agenda, while more traditional US policy voices attempt to deny this foreign policy direction; and the economic reality faced by the dollar at the start of the new American Century defines this new phase in an exceedingly ominous way.
There is a qualitative difference emerging between the two initial phases of the American Century -- that of phase one: 1945-1973 and phase two: 1973-1999 and the new emerging phase of continuing military belligerence in the wake of 9/11 and the Iraq War. Post-1945 American power was predominately that of a hegemon where a hegemon is the dominant power in an unequal distribution of power, and its power is not encompassed by coercion alone, but by consent among its allies. Indeed the hegemon is compelled to perform certain services to its allies such as military security or regulating world markets for the benefit of the larger group, itself included, and is so rewarded.
However a regional but imperial power has no such obligations to allies and no benevolence is extended to same, for only the raw dictate of military strength allows the imperial power to hang on in a declining phase -- some call this phenomena 'imperial overstretch'; indeed this is the world which Neo-conservatives created, and which they suggest America must now dominate with a policy of pre-emptive war, and a hidden war for global hegemony between the dollar and the new Euro-currency is at the very core of this new phase.
To comprehend this silent battle for currency hegemony we must consider the emergence of the United States as the dominant global superpower after 1945 when US dominance relied upon two pillars: first, the overwhelming US military superiority over all other rivals. In present terms the US spends $396 billion on its military versus the EU's $118 billion in defense spending, and Americans spend more on their military-industrial complex than the next fifteen largest nations combined. Washington plans to spend an additional 2.1 trillion dollars on defence over the coming five years. No nation or group of nations can come close to this level of defense spending, for example China is at least 30 years away from becoming a serious military threat and no nation-state or group of states can seriously consider taking on the US militarily whether in a conventional or nuclear sense.
The second pillar of American dominance is the dominant role of the US dollar itself as a reserve currency. Until the advent of the Euro in late 1999, there was no potential challenge to dollar hegemony in world trade. The petro-dollar has been at the core of dollar hegemony since the 1970's and the dollar's hegemony is strategic to the future of all American global financial dominance - in many respects the dollar's importance is comparable to overwhelming military power.
How it all Works Together
Essentially the energy business is a dollar business - oil is priced in dollars and traded in dollars, and so long as the dollar substantially underpins international trade then foreign government currency reserves must be backed up with dollar purchases; in addition currency has the added advantage of earning interest, so financial bonds and treasury instruments are purchased by foreign governments in dollars to further leverage their 'investments'.
This is all well and good for US currency: the world lends while the American people lavishly spend. But in the end this dollar system is fraught with weakness for even a small percentage conversion of world energy business into Euro's would certainly cause a run on US dollars; and a first-ever Euro oil currency conversion had already occurred - in Saddam's Iraq!
Indeed, this is the very threat that Iraq posed to the United States: Iraq had already brokered a deal to trade oil for Euro-dollars with Russia and Iraq was in process of brokering similar currency deals with France and Germany. Of course the ruling US elite could not allow any major change to occur in the currency in which oil is bought and sold. Any move to trading oil in Euros was a major threat to the US currency base, and now Iraq and its oil appeared at the very heart of this threat.
The following sections explain how the imperative to maintain currency dominance in conjunction with a foreign policy hegemonic and domination of near-virgin oilfields in Iraq [with attendant capability of establishing major military bases there] worked in conjunction with Israel's will for US intervention in the region while leaving Israel in a unique unfettered position to suppress the Palestinian Intifada on its own. 
The Yom Kippur War
On the date October 6, 1973 Egypt and Syria launched a devastating attack on the state of Israel, subsequent to escalations in border tensions in the Sinai, and Israeli fighter plane incursions into Syrian airspace. The attack on Israel corresponds in time with the imposition of the Arab oil emabargo on October 17th, 1973, when Arab nations jointly announced their intention to cease oil shipments to any nations which provided support to Israel during the war.
These events highlight the relationship between oil, Israel, the Arab nations, the first world and the petro-dollar as key players in a monumental geo-political struggle for energy resources, upon which world economic development depends. Governments and corporations conveniently distort the foregoing statement using disinformation, propaganda and emotional rhetoric, instead of acknowledging this economic fact.
The Yom Kippur war was certainly a turning point for the Arab nations where Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan and Morrocco coordinated in their aggressive plans for retaking the ground lost in the 1967 war, however Jordan would only enter the fray if Syria were successful in re-taking the Golan Heights; of course Syria was blunted in this effort by the superior air power of the Israeli Air Force.
Lebanon itself chose a neutral non-combatant role in the war since Lebanon's greatest fear was Israeli annexation of its southern lands if the war turned sour for the Arab nations - this was a controversial decision for Lebanese leaders when so many Palestinians lived in Lebanese camps; with luxury of hindsight it is clear that the pressure of this Lebanese decision would lead to choas in Lebanon that followed.
The Arab plan to retake lost ground was nearly successful, however the United States provided enough aircraft to turn the tide in Israel's favor, but only after the United States determined that Israel did not launch a pre-emptive attack or act as the initial aggressor in the conflict - a process which consumed nearly ten days.
It is important to repeat this fact concerning US foreign policy at that time: only after the United States determined that Israel did not launch a pre-emptive attack or act as the initial aggressor and compare the foreign policy in place at that time to the Neo-conservative call for pre-emptive attacks on potential aggressor nation-states after 911.
In fact, before 1973, Israel had been informed that if it ever initiated armed aggression versus its neighbors then all US military support for Israel would cease and the significance of this former American policy cannot be underestimated when compared to the unqualified support Israel receives today under any and all circumstances, regardless of any military action it undertakes including assassination.
However in order to maintain the correct context, re the road to war in Iraq, it is a key point that throughout its history the United States has prohibited any policy of "pre-emptive" war, and throughout its history the United States overtly discouraged initiation of armed aggression vs other sovereign nations - until post 9/11 and the ascendance of heavily-funded arch-conservative political think tanks such as the American Enterprise Institute and the Project for a New American Century which have nullified centuries of democratic idealism along with the concept of the sovereign nation-state. [NB: Covert US operations of course prove the exception!]
It is therefore useful to consider the example of the Yom Kippur war and the foreign policy position of the United States in 1973 with regard to pre-emption, and compare this policy to the arch-conservative ascendance and political will of today with regard to "pre-emptive" war and the Road to War in Iraq.
The Ba'athist Party and Iraq's War Versus Iran
General Notes on the Baath party
The Baath party was founded by three progressive secular scholars with its first party congress convening in 1947. Today in the West Saddam Hussien is probably the most notorious former Baathist leader, however the Baath party is not a party of personality. The party presently survives in Iraq today even though its activities are largely illegal or ignored under the auspices of the US occupation government.
The Baath party was founded upon progressive socialist [not communist] secular philosophy reactively promoting Arab unity and the formation of a Pan-Arab union that would substantially reduce incursion of Western culture and development in the Middle Eastern region. Since the US invasion and occupation of Iraq the Baath party is strongest in Syria with over seven million members.
The party promoted its ideology of pan-Arab secular nationalism with socialist leanings so that territorially/politically divided Arab countries were merely regions of a collective entity - The Arab Nation, according to party rationale; the Baath movement in one country was considered merely an aspect of, or a phase leading to, "a unified democratic socialist Arab nation". The crucial test of legitimacy for any Baath government was based upon ideal that policies and actions were compatible with the basic aim of a pan-Arab revolution, but in reality Arab unity was to become a long-term ideal rather than a short term objective.
By 1982, Baathists advocated that "Arab unity must not take place through the elimination of local and national characteristics of any Arab country but must be achieved through common fraternal objectives". In practice, the foregoing meant that the Iraqi Baath Party had accepted unity of purpose among Arab leaders, rather than unification of Arab countries.
Certainly the United States has consistently erred in its perception of the desire for a pan-Arab state; whether secular Ba'athist or Muslim sect, Phalangist, or Maronite, the United States has always viewed Middle Eastern affairs through the historical lens of covert CIA interventionist policy or via the distorted prism of US/Israeli military might.
The Iran -Iraq War
When Iraq attacked Iran on September 22, 1980, the United Nations Security Council waited four days before holding a meeting. On September 28th, the Council passed Resolution 479 calling for an end to the hostilities. Significantly the resolution did not condemn nor mention the Iraqi aggression, and the resolution did not call for a return to internationally recognized boundaries. UN expert Ralph King concluded, "the Council more or less deliberately ignored Iraq's actions in September 1980." The council ignored Iraq's action because the Council as a whole had a negative view of Iran and the US delegate noted that Iran [which had itself violated Security Council resolutions on the American embassy hostages] could hardly complain about the Council's lackluster response.
Meanwhile the US cultivated Saddam Hussein's Iraq as a potential key ally versus Iran in a strategic war. As Iraqi - US ties expanded Washington launched 'Operation Staunch' in light of Iranian battlefield victories during 1984. 'Operation Staunch' pressured US allies to eliminate their supply of arms to Iran. But secret US arms sales were underway via the notorious contra affair in direct violation of US neutrality. Ironically the covert US arms sales to Iran undercut the establishment's own overt attempts at halting Western arms sales to the Islamic Republic. Perhaps arms traders can appreciate the cynical value-add this policy afforded with regard to the covert sale of the Contra weapons.
The Reagan administration was faced with a major scandal on several fronts when the illegal Contra arms sales were revealed publically. Proceeds from the arms sales had been diverted to the Nicaraguan contras in violation of the Boland Amendment, and the establishment's professed uncompromising stand on terrorism became a matter of bitter controversy due to apparent Republican sponsorship of terrorism in Nicaragua and elsewhere. 
Washington's effort to cynically play both sides of the coin came unglued in 1986 when an Iranian government faction leaked the story of covert US arms dealing to the press. The attendant scandal alienated Iran in general and panicked the Arab nations to conclude that the US valued Iran's allegiance over their own. To salvage this situation the United States was forced to bias its attentions heavily in favor of Iraq.
In June of 1987 Undersecretary of Political Affairs Michael H. Armacost explained that if the USSR were permitted a larger role in protecting Gulf oil, then the Gulf states would be under pressure to make facilities available to Moscow. The US view was evidently shaped by this knowledge, and it adopted a single superpower policy, eg that only one superpower would maintain facilities in the region - and that was to be the United States.
In December of 1980 the Soviet Union proposed a neutralization of the Gulf, with no alliances, no bases, no intervention in the region, and no obstacles to free trade or the sea lanes, however Washington showed no interest in the plan. By August of 1987 the US maintained major forces in the region described as the "largest single naval armada deployed since the height of the Vietnam war."
The Reagan establishment claimed that this reflagging was merely intended to protect the flow of oil. It warned that "any significant disruption in gulf oil supply would cause world oil prices for all to skyrocket" grimly recalling how events in 1973-74 and 1978-79 demonstrated that "a small disruption -- of less than 5% -- can trigger a sharp escalation in oil prices."
But the supply of oil - and oil prices - were never threatened, with a worldwide oil glut endemic since the early 1980s with underused production capacity extant in non-Gulf nations. Despite the horrendous human costs of the Iran-Iraq war, oil prices had actually fallen by 50 percent during the course of this conflict. Indeed less than two percent of ships transiting the Strait came under attack, mostly with minor damage.
Now Iran became more aggressive in attacking shipping due to the US naval presence: between 1981 and April 1987 when the reflagging was announced, Iran struck 90 ships; over a year thereafter Iran struck 126 ships. As the Congressional study noted, "shipping in the Gulf now appears less safe than before the U.S. naval build-up began."
Significantly the US Navy could scarcely be referred to as a "peacekeeping" force. The former US National Security Council officer in charge of Iran asserted that American naval units "have been deployed aggressively and provocatively in the hottest parts of the Persian Gulf. Our aggressive patrolling strategy tends to start fights, not to end them. We behave at times as if our objective was to goad Iran into a war with us." Officials in every Gulf country were critical of "the highly provocative way in which US forces are being deployed in the Gulf."
Iraq responded to Iranian victories on the ground by making use of its advantage in technology: it escalated the tanker war, employed chemical weapons, and launched attacks on civilian targets. Iran retaliated by striking Gulf shipping starting in 1984 and launching its own attacks on civilians, although on a lesser scale than Iraq. Iran charged that the Security Council's handling of each of these issues reflected animus against Iran.
On chemical weapons, the Security Council passed no resolution. The United States condemned the use of chemical weapons but declined to support any Council action against Iraq and refused to draft or support any resolution condemning Iraq's use of chemical weapons. The Council did issue an insignificant "statement" in 1985 condemning the use of chemical weapons, but without mentioning Iraq by name. However in March of 1986, for the first time, a Council statement explicitly denounced Iraq on the use of chemical weapons; unfortunately the condemnation occurred two years after Iraq's first use of chemical warfare had been confirmed.
In July of 1988 Iranian anti-war sentiment became widespread and Ayatollah Khomeini decided to end the fighting. On July 18, Iran declared its full acceptance of UN Resolution 598. But by this time Iraq had turned the tide of the battle, having regained virtually all of its own territory, and Saddam Hussein refused to accept the cease-fire. Baghdad continued offensive operations using chemical weapons supplied by the West versus Iran, and versus its own Kurdish population. It was not until August 6 that international pressure forced Iraq to come to the table and agree to a cease-fire.
The Iran-Iraq war was not a conflict between good and evil - both regimes were repugnant. However it is just as important to note that the Reagan regime failed to lend its good offices to mediation efforts, support or diplomacy: indeed Washington strictly maneuvered for advantage. The US played a brinksmanship card with the Soviet Union and the US attempted to undercut allies and rivals alike for political, economic and military gain. The United States provided intelligence information - bogus and real - to both sides; the US provided arms to both sides; the US funded paramilitary exile groups; the US sought military bases and significantly boosted tension in the region - all while Iranians and Iraqis died.
With great portentous moment for the future, US Deputy Undersecretary of the Navy Seth Cropsy expressed his hope that the outcome of American operations in the Gulf would dispel the "national reluctance to interpose American military forces in third world conflicts when important issues are at stake." Those opposed to the tragedy and horror of US interventionism in the region today certainly do not share in this hope.
The Israeli Connection
The following sections briefly outline selected elements of Israel's legacy and contributions to Neo-conservative ideology embodied in the 'Clean Break' document, the Project for a New American Century and other key elements pertaining to the Road to War in Iraq. However it is important to stress Israel's unique position in the region and also to point out that Israel has maintained significant intelligence gathering capabilities in the form of Mossad, Aman, and other agencies over the years.
The CIA has been roundly criticized for its poor intelligence with regard to Iraq's alleged possession of WMD's, however there has been little or no discussion of the fact that elements within Israel's intelligence community actually supplied much false data to the Pentagon's Office of Special Plans under Feith and Shulsky in the years and months prior to America's invasion of Iraq.
Yossi Sarid, a prominent member of Israel's Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee states, "[Israeli intelligence] knew beforehand that Iraq had no weapons stockpiles. Israeli intelligence knew the threat was very, very limited... [But] Israel didn't want to spoil President Bush's scenario, and it should have. It was known in Israel that the story that weapons of mass destruction could be activated in forty-five minutes was and old wives' tale."
In fact, in the early days subsequent to the 9-11 attacks, Israel's military intelligence wing [Aman] published 'findings' in the well-regarded Jane's Foreign Report stating that Iraq was behind the 9-11 suicide attacks.
Furthermore in a 2002 secret NATO meeting in Brussels the chief of Mossad [Efraim Halevy] said, "We have clear indications that the Iraqis renewed their efforts [to develop nuclear weapons]. Together with these efforts we have reason to believe that the Iraqis have succeeded in preserving parts of their capability in the fields of biological and chemical warfare. We have partial evidence that they have renewed production of VX and perhaps even anthrax germs."
But Israel's anti-Saddam propaganda machine had been founded eight years earlier, way back in April of 1994, just eighteen months after Israel's secret plot to assassinate Saddam Hussein was aborted. It is therefore self-evident that prominent American Neo-conservatives leveraged false Israeli intelligence information to the maximum extreme in order to influence the media and, more importantly, to influence the Presidential Daily Briefing.
In other words, the state of Israel not only failed to produce real evidence of Iraq's alleged possession of WMD's prior to March 2003, but far worse, Israel provided bad intelligence to the Pentagon and CIA in its own self-interest with regard to its desire for revenge and regime change in Iraq.
The Qana Massacre
Almost unknown to populations outside of the Middle East (and never reported in any detail in the United States) Israel began military operations versus 'targets' in Beirut on April 18th, 1996. An Israeli Apache helicopter struck an ambulance carrying women and children, killing all on board. At this time 800 Palestinian civilians sheltering in a United Nations refugee camp nearby called Qana, were attacked by Isreali forces with 102 unarmed civilians killed and hundreds injured, many severely - most were women and children.
According to Robert Fisk of England's Independent newspaper: "The blood of all the refugees ran quite literally in streams from the shell-smashed UN compound restaurant in which the Shiite Muslims from the hill villages of southern Lebanon - who had heeded Israel's order to leave their homes - had pathetically sought shelter. Fijian and French soldiers heaved another group of dead - they lay with their arms tightly wrapped around each other - into blankets."
This tragic event is an addendum to Sabra and Shatila, setting the tone for events which, for better or worse, radicalized many Arabs in the Middle East. The Qana massacre was widely reported in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
The Qana massacre is mentioned within the context of this paper because it illustrates the fact that Middle East war cannot be considered in isolation - for example Israel v Palestine, but the war must be considered within the context of the complete assembly of its component parts, being the summation of all peoples, races, religions, religious sects and tribes which comprise the Middle East as a whole.
The Qana massacre illustrates Israel's relation to the mosaic of State-sponsored terror, the politics of the disenfranchised - amongst which we now must include the marginalization of the United Nations itself - and the terror reprisals which these actions spawn in a never-ending vicious circle of violence, on both sides with no moderating third-party power to intervene.
So it follows that Qana partially sets the stage for the United States Neo-conservative policy toward Israel, inspiring the document, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm" which so influenced George W Bush on his Road to War in Iraq.
Israel's Secret Plot to Assassinate Saddam Hussein
It is a plain fact that the state of Israel will assassinate [or attempt to assassinate] any political or spiritual leader that Israel identifies as being a political or military threat to the state of Israel itself, and Iraq's Scud missile attacks on Israel during the 1991 Gulf War qualified Saddam Hussein as one such threat.
Israel's ultra-secret plot to assassinate Saddam Hussein was called Operation Bramble Bush and was simple and elegant in theory, but failed in the planning stage.
Nadav Zeevi, an Israeli intelligence officer claimed that he was ordered to gather intelligence in 1992 for the purpose of an attack in revenge for the 39 Scud missiles fired at Israel by Iraq and Hussein during the first Gulf War. Zeevi said he learned that Saddam's maternal uncle and father-in-law, Khairallah Tulfah, was dying of diabetes, so Israeli officials planned to potentially kill Saddam as he attended Tulfah's impending funeral.
On Oct. 2, 1992 Rabin approved Zeevi's plan which called for commandos to be flown into Iraq and split into two groups with an advance unit monitoring Saddam's family cemetery plots outside Tikrit, and a second unit deploying several kilometers further away; the first unit would watch the funeral and signal the second unit to fire missiles on Saddam, Yediot reporter Ronen Bergman said. The custom-made missiles were named "Obelisk," the Maariv daily said. After the attack a specially commissioned military plane would spirit the elite Israeli commando group back to Israel.
On Nov. 5, 1992, the commandos staged a dress rehearsal in the Negev Desert. "It was basically a show for the generals," Zeevi said. As part of the exercise, commandos were to fire a false missile at the soldiers playing the roles of Saddam and his bodyguards but unfortunately for the Israelis [and fortunately for Saddam himself] a live missile was used by mistake, and five soldiers were killed while six were wounded, leading to Israel's cancellation of the assassination attempt. US intelligence service officials knew of the Israeli plan to assassinate Saddam Hussein but the details of the plan and its failure were witheld from the media by Israeli intelligence officials until leaked by Zeevi late in 2003.
However, there can be little doubt that the plan was known to senior Pentagon strategists, namely the radical extremists Richard Perle, Douglas Feith and David Wurmser; and it therefore follows that the Neo-conservatives leveraged the failure of the 1992 Hussein assassination plot to further justify their "Clean Break" strategy in 1997, a key strategy on the Road to War in Iraq. 
The Need for a Straw Man
Hannah Arendt was one of the great political thinkers of the 20th century, and one of the first to comment on the need for a collective enemy of the State and so according to Arendt:
- "Since power is essentially only a means to an end a community based solely upon power must decay in the calm of order and stability... [only] by acquiring more power can it guarantee the status quo; only by constantly extending its authority and only through process of power accumulation can it remain stable... [the] ever-present possibility of war guarantees the Commonwealth a prospect of permanence because it makes it possible for the state to increase its power at the expense of other states."
It is evident that Arendt's assertion is founded upon her own knowledge of events within Nazi Germany at the time, however the foregoing paragraph applies to all militaristic regimes, whether past or present.
But even more interesting than the straw man is the concept of Perpetual war based upon unlimited conquest whether military or economic; in the modern era this must be limited to attainable goals, and with the collapse of the Soviet the war versus the third world, the third world war is seen to continue, not as an annoyance, but as a necessity to the first world in order to support the United States as a weapons manufacturer of first resort - this became especially important subsequent to the dot com economy bust. Today the threat of terror - sometimes more specifically alleged the radical Islamic threat - has supplanted the former communist threat since the fall of the Soviet bloc. 
Capitalism's Domino Effect
So far in this paper we have considered the hegemon of the United States and its a) troubled role as de facto emperor of the Middle East since the eclipse of British and then Soviet power in the region and b) we have seen the United States use its influence to dominate one leg of the Oil Triumvirate, namely Iran, until that influence was lost c) we have seen how the United States increased its military and political presence in the Oil Triumvirate post- World War 2 thus creating the global petro-village and d) we have seen how the United States' reliance upon Israel as a major regional military power has caused regional conflict and strife with complications in Lebanon and elsewhere throughout the Middle East, thus limiting its options and exacerbating the role of the pan-Arab state, which follows, while e) considering complete control of triumvirate to be extant in seizing political and economic control of Iran and Saudi Arabia through sanctions, warfare or covert activity. With this view John Foster Dulles would most likely be proud that Iraq is the first imperial domino to fall - a first step on the road to continuing American domination of the world's resources.
The Saddam Hussein Question
While the Western media has consistently and successfully portrayed Saddam Hussein as a thug and a ruthless mad dictator, the fact is that Saddam Hussien worked closely with the US Central Intelligence Agency for more than thirty years, from the 1960's and continuing on to the brink of his invasion of Kuwait and subsequent parting of the ways in 1990. It is no coincidence that this parting of the ways occurred in conjunction with the eclipse of Soviet power in the region in 1990.
After 1988 Hussein correctly recognized that the ascendance of one global super-power in the region [in the form of the United States] would seriously imbalance the uneasy status quo maintained in the Middle East since the dawn of the cold war.
Hussein perceptively developed the world view that only one counterbalance to US authority could be developed in the region, namely strong Arab unity and economic cooperation, cooperation which was not forthcoming from Kuwait due to the festering contested border dispute. Hussein believed he could assert his authority and unite the majority of militant Arab opinion behind Iraq by invading Kuwait while the US promised to stand idly by.
Unfortunately Hussein was no Saladin, and he failed to unite the Arab world with his invasion while totally mis-reading the US response which now smelled like more of a trap. Hussein had committed the dictator's ultimate sin by isolating his cause and his military by failing to follow through on the one asset he was most in need of, namely loyal regional allies.
Hussein was a repugnant leader indeed, but more of a maverick than a madman, and history may ultimately view his role in an international shell game to be that of a handy but flamboyant pan-Arab fall guy, as well as the traditional megalomaniac view.
Strategic and Tactical US Forces in the Gulf since 1977
Under Carter the US adopts a Rapid Deployment Force [RDF]:
The Rapid Deployment Force (RDF) was created by the Carter regime to protect and project US military power in the Gulf region itself. The RDF plan was originally proposed in 1977 but did not make progress until the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in 1979. The RDF was founded to provide "an aid and deterrent to friendly governments when under subversive attack". Propaganda concerning the "Soviet threat" to Western interests provided the RDF's central raison d'etre. Accordingly, Carter spoke in apocalyptic terms about the strategic significance of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, even though US military experts considered Afghanistan of marginal intrest to any Soviet thrust through Iran or the Gulf.
The US wargame operation 'Gallant Knight' assumed an all-out Soviet invasion of Iran in 1986; military analysts concluded that a force of over three-hundred and twenty-five thousand troops would be necessary to hold back the Soviet colossus. Pentagon miltary planners deliberately chose this scenario [according to sources close to Senator Sam Nunn] to guarantee allocation of a very large force to the RDF, even though an RDF of this magnitude far outstripped offensive capabilities of any Third World troublemakers at the time. By the mid-1980s Pentagon analysts concluded that Third World armies were no longer "barbarians with knives" and the US could no longer expect to "stabilize an area just by showing its flag."
In the 1980's Ronald Reagan instituted the Reagan Codicil as an enhancement to the Carter Doctrine declaring that the US must not allow Saudi Arabia "to become another Iran" with oil resources potentially lost to the Islamic revolution. The Reagan codicil did not represent new US policy with regard to Saudi Arabia but it did codify existing US policy in relation to military support for the Kingdom.
During this period the Red Army experienced tremendous difficulty fighting its war in Afghanistan with fierce Mujahadin resistance to Soviet occupation, so the CIA concluded that Soviet ambitions in Iran would remain supressed; however pressure from US military-industrial complex sources caused severe bloating of RDF forces.
The Pentagon's 'Secret Defense Guidance' document of 1982 stated that the Soviet Union might extend its forces into the Gulf "by means other than outright invasion" and continued: "Whatever the circumstances, we should be prepared to introduce American forces directly into the region should it appear that the security of access to Persian Gulf oil is threatened...."
At this time elements of the US Senate argued that far too much emphasis was being placed upon countering the USSR when the focus should be on "deterring and, if necessary, fighting regional wars or leftist or nationalist insurgencies that threaten US and allied access to the region's oil supplies."
The official line was that the RDF should only be deployed when a friendly government called upon the US to repel Soviet attack [see reference to John Foster Dulles above]. This view was belied by "guidance documents which say that the forces must be capable of coercive entry without waiting for an invitation." The Reagan administration pointed out that RDF plans included a "forcible entry" option which relied upon the Marines as a pre-emptive force. "We must be able to open our own doors," the Marine Commandant testified in March 1982.
To support the RDF, the Pentagon needed a network of military bases not just in the Middle East, but worldwide. "To all intents and purposes," a former senior Defense Department official observed, "'Gulf waters' now extended from the Straits of Malacca to the South Atlantic." Nevertheless, Gulf bases had a special importance, and Pentagon planners urged a "substantial land presence."
Naturally the Gulf states were reluctant to court an overt relationship with the United States, but the Iran-Iraq war necessitated close ties between the Reagan administration, Baghdad and Saddam Hussein. Iranian advances versus Iraq loomed large by 1985 and the New York Times reported that Oman "has become a base for Western intelligence operations, military maneuvers and logistical preparations for any defense of the oil-producing Persian Gulf."
A secret US report was leaked a few months later indicating that Saudi Arabia had agreed to allow the United States to use new bases in its territory during periods of crisis - so the doors to US influence were opening ever wider, shaping future US designs in the region, so notable and relevant to the War in Iraq today.
The Iraq Insurgency
Today, Iraqi resistance groups are not clearly defined and many remain unknown in the West. However five groups [hitherto unknown] have now identified themselves within Iraq. These groups are split between insurgency, Shia and Sunni as follows:
- The Armed Islamic Movement for al-Qaida
- The National Brigades of Iraqi Resistance
- The National Front Fedayeen
- The Salfist Jihad Group
- Sadr's Mahdi Army
- Islamic Da'wah (Call) Party: Established in 1957-58, it is largely seen as a Shi'a organization, but does claim some Sunni membership.
- The Badr Brigade: The Badr Brigade is the military arm of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a Tehran-based Shiite group headed by an exiled Iraqi cleric, Ayatollah Mohammed Bakr Al Hakim.
- Iraqi Islamic Liberation Party: Founded in 1953 by Sheikh Taqi al-Din al-Nabahani and led by Sheikh Abd al-Qadim Zallum, who died in April 2003. The group considers itself a "branch" of the Iraqi Islamic Liberation Party, which is present in a number of countries. The party is also banned in many Arab countries states, including Iraq under previous regimes. It supports the establishment of an Islamic state under an Islamic caliphate.
- Ansar al-Sunna: Iraqis and others who follow conservative Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia; US intelligence says their goals vary from turning Iraq into an anti-Western state that would host rebels against other regimes in region to tightly controlled Islamic state like Afghanistan's Taliban regime.
- Ba'athists and former regime members: Iraqi nationalists fighting to rebuild secular power lost when Saddam Hussein was deposed - believed largest movement, it has dozens of cells aligned loosely in umbrella groups. Many joined fight after occupation chief L. Paul Bremer banned them from public life in May 2003. [US commanders believe large numbers can be coaxed to join government with lucrative amnesty offer]
All of the above groups use rocket-propelled grenades, mines, explosives and mortars in their continuing hostilities, most of these weapons were left over from Saddam's former army stockpiles. These groups have a general rhetorically stated goal to free Iraq from all foreign occupation and intervention, while the theocratically motivated groups hope to further their cause for a second Islamic Republic [similar to Iran].
The illegality of Iraq war
Willful manipulation and submission of false data to Congress with intent to authorize war versus a sovereign nation [on false pretenses] is a willful crime and an unlawful act, on the part of the perpetrators.
The Tenet-Rice connection
According to Senator Carl Levin of the Senate Intelligence Committee: Condoleeza Rice is directly implicated in making false statements to the Senate Committee to whit, "United Nations inspectors have been briefed on every high or medium priority weapons of mass destruction/missile and UAV-related site the U.S. intelligence community has identified". Rice's statement was made in collusion with statements supplied to Congress by George Tenet on February 12th, 2003 on the eve of war, when he made the same claims. However the CIA deliberately withheld at least 20 percent of the suspected sites out of the 105 sites known to the intelligence community, and these sites had already been identified as most likely locations for the housing of banned weapons. In other words, the CIA had been forced into an ironic and paradoxical position by the Bush administration: Bush's hawks wanted Congress and the American people to believe [by fraudulent manipulation of CIA data] that the renewed UN inspections effort was ineffectual and had run its course when in fact there were still many more sites the inspectors were planning to search. 
In addition Tenet and Rice pushed hard for the State Department to fully accept Rumsfeld's Pentagon arm fictional intelligence and disinformation as supplied by Feith, Israel and the OSP in the run-up to war re Powell's presentation to the United Nations Security Council in February of 2003. Indeed, there can be no doubt that the woman about to serve as Secretary of State for The United States of America was fully aware that the information her NSA organization was pushing as factual intelligence on Iraq's so-called Weapons of Mass Destruction programs was patently false.
Tragically [and this author alleges criminally] in its rush to war the Bush administration ignored all foreign and domestic appeals to abide by the rule of international law by refusing to allow the UN inspectors to abide by their due process in due course. It is clear that the Bush administration:
- Did not vet intelligence properly
- Received tainted intelligence from many quarters
- Subscribed to and funded false sources of intelligence
- Actively solicited false information in support of a war agenda
- Produced and manufactured false intelligence in collusion with a foreign power
- Participated in fraudulent activity with intent to wage an unjustifiable war
These conclusions cannot be ignored, denied, or refuted; they implicate the highest levels of US executive government in a far-reaching criminal conspiracy, still being perpetrated to this day.
Beyond War in Iraq
Forces for Change: The Neo-conservatives and Global Tyranny
While 'Neo-conservatives' and their spin directly applies to Neocon intellectuals and their brutal and illegal war in Iraq, very little has actually been written about their core beliefs. In this case we take the example of Michael Ledeen, author of the book Machiavelli on Modern Leadership as well as numerous other books and articles.
During the Reagan years, Ledeen served as adviser to Alexander Haig and to [NSC] National Security Adviser and convicted criminal Robert C. McFarlane, with close ties to Lebanon policy and direct involvement in the Reagan Contra scandal. 
Today Ledeen is most active as adviser to Karl Rove and architect of the proposed plan to topple Iran's Islamic Republic. In the current debate over "regime change" in Iran, Ledeen is a major voice for an aggressive US policy to overthrow the mullahs, which he sees as but one small part of his vision of an American-led "global democratic revolution."
To quote Ledeen: "To be an effective leader, the most prudent method is to ensure that your people are afraid of you," Ledeen wrote in Machiavelli on Modern Leadership. "To instill that fear, you must demonstrate that those who attack you will not survive." And, "New leaders with an iron will are required to root out the corruption and either reestablish a virtuous state, or to institute a new one. . .," he wrote. "If we bask in false security and drop our guard, the rot spreads, corrupting the entire society. Once that happens, only violent and extremely unpleasant methods can bring us back to virtue."
Ledeen dismissed worries that the American public would lose heart if there were too many casualties in the then-imminent Iraq war in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute: "All the great scholars who have studied American character have come to the conclusion that we are a warlike people and that we love war. . ." Ledeen declared. "What we hate is not casualties but losing."
The Ledeen enigma extols democracy while calling for iron political discipline and can be traced back to what Ledeen calls, "the usual Machiavellian paradox: Compulsion -- or necessity, as he terms it -- makes men noble, and enables them to remain free, while abundant choice is dangerous, leads to chaos, and leaves men at the mercy of their enemies."
Ledeen's ideology is certainly a hallmark of the Neo-conservative movement and is predisposed [as in the Straussian case] to adopting the methods of the supposedly despised totalitarian regimes in order to achieve their own ultimate Neo-conservative ends. While Leo Strauss adopted and taught the methods of the Nazi monsters from which he fled, Ledeen does not apologize for his re-work of the New Machiavellian ideology so avidly adopted by the most senior members of the Bush administration.
But today the grave threat is that Ledeen's Neo-conservative call to confrontation with Iran will proceed as Neo-conservatives have planned since 1997.
NOTES AND REFERENCE MATERIAL
 Paul O'Neill found himself confused -- after all, he'd only been sworn into office a few hours earlier. He had always believed that the major destabilizing factor in the Middle East was the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, not Iraq. But the fifty year struggle for a peaceful solution to the Palestinian problem had been summarily dismissed by George W Bush after only a few minutes' discussion. With that discussion out of the way, the topic had immediately become the invasion of Iraq -- not the reasons why, but the means how and the targets necessary. As he was later to tell author Ron Suskind, with whom he wrote The Price of Loyalty, "From the start, we were building the case against Hussein and looking for ways to take him out and change Iraq into a new country. And if we did that, it would solve everything". According to O'Neil, "The meeting seemed scripted; Rumsfeld said little, Cheney said nothing at all, as though both men had long entertained the idea of overthrowing Saddam." O'Neil further described Colin Powell's state as one of evident shock with the undoing of fifty years of US Israeli-Palestinian peace policy at one single stroke. But O'Neil could not know the accuracy of his own suspicions since the invasion of Iraq had already been decided upon; as far back as January 26,1998, Rumsfeld had signed a letter asking President Clinton to develop a "strategy that should aim, above all, at the removal of Saddam Hussein's regime from power". In addition the letter recommended unilateral action versus Iraq because "we can no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War coalition" to enforce the inspections regime.
 But the Neo-conservative "Clean Break" document went even further by suggesting that the true motives for war in the Middle East [in this case versus Syria] should be hidden from the people. The document suggested that evidence should be fabricated to show that Syria was engaged in arms smuggling, drug-running and transfer of WMD's through Lebanon to other Arab nations; the paper proposed that the production of forged and fabricated WMD evidence would effectively incite public opinion and allow Israel free reign to pre-emptively strike Syria via Lebanon. Ironically and most of all tragically, the radical authors of the "Clean Break" document and plan for war in the Middle East had no way of knowing that Osama bin Laden, radical leader of the muslim Al Qaeda terrorist group, also planned for the exact same war to be instigated by terrorists within the United States via the means of the 9/11 attacks.
[5b] In November of 2002 Middle East expert Robert Dreyfuss reports: "[a]The Washington partisans who want to install Chalabi in Arab Iraq are also those associated with the staunchest backers of Israel, particularly those aligned with the hard-right faction of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Chalabi's cheerleaders include the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) and the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). "Chalabi is the one that we know the best," says Shoshana Bryen, director of special projects for JINSA, where Chalabi has been a frequent guest at board meetings, symposia and other events since 1997. "He could be Iraq's national leader," says Patrick Clawson, deputy director of WINEP, whose board of advisers includes pro-Israeli luminaries such as Perle, Wolfowitz and Martin Peretz of The New Republic. [b] What makes Chalabi so attractive to the Washington war party? Most importantly, he's a co-thinker: a mathematician trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Chicago and a banker (who years ago hit it off with Albert Wohlstetter, the theorist who was a godfather of the neoconservative movement), a fellow mathematician and a University of Chicago strategist. In 1985, Wohlstetter (who died in 1997) introduced Chalabi to Perle, then the undersecretary of defense for international-security policy under President Reagan and one of Wohlstetter's leading acolytes. The two have been close ever since. In early October, Perle and Chalabi shared a podium at an American Enterprise Institute conference called "The Day After: Planning for a Post-Saddam Iraq," which was held, appropriately enough, in AEI's 12th-floor Wohlstetter Conference Center. "The Iraqi National Congress has been the philosophical voice of free Iraq for a dozen years," Perle told me. [c] Philosophical or not, since its founding in 1992, Chalabi's INC has been trying to drag the United States into war with Iraq. By its very nature, the INC's strategy -- building a paramilitary presence inside Iraq, creating a provisional government, launching attacks on Iraqi cities -- was intended to create inexorable momentum for a war in which in the United States would be compelled to support the INC. But American policy in the 1990s was focused primarily on containing Saddam Hussein and depriving him of weapons of mass destruction, so the INC's efforts were sidetracked during the Clinton administration.
 This debt crisis continues today, for example in August,2004 the IMF refused to fund a new loan to Argentina in its efforts to pay debt while imposing strict financial sanctions on the country.
 Putin had previously brought up the proposal to switch from trading oil in US dollars to Euros as Prime Minister in October 1999 at a meeting of EU leaders in Helsinki. Then, in an attempt to forge a new bloc to counterbalance the United States, he made the proposal and called for closer cooperation between Russia and the EU, particularly including security issues. Since then Russia's ties with the United States have warmed considerably -- and it is unclear whether Putin would risk damaging his relationship with the US by going ahead with the euro-dollar move. "Putin is very much interested in changing the structure of OPEC and he cannot do that without the United States," said Alexander Rahr, an expert on Russia at the German Council on Foreign Relations. "He can only get a foothold for Russia in the Middle East with [American political help]. And, he wants to get contracts for the Russian oil industry in Iraq -- for this, too, he needs the United States."
 ref: Noam Chomsky, Distorted Morality
 The motivating factor for Maronite terrorists in their massacre of innocent Palestinians was the CIA's promise that the country would be freed from foreign intervention when Lebanon ceased to harbor Palestinian refugees. See: Inside the Middle East, Dilip Hiro 1982 McGraw-Hill
 Randal, Jonathan C. Going All the Way : Christian Warlords, Israeli Adventurers & the War in Lebanon New York, NY, U.S.A.: Alfred A. Knopf Incorporated, 1984
 A Pretext for War Bamford, James: Doubleday June, 2004
 Revolutionary Iran Ramazani, R K. : John's Hopkins University Press, 1986 In 1953 very few Americans had ever heard the name of Kermit Roosevelt, and today certainly no American recalls the name with the exception of the odd history student or two. But just as certainly, key CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt installed the Shah Reza Pahlavi's royal family in power while taking out the democratic rule of Mossadegh. It is interesting to note that British imperial power could not interest Truman in the Mossadegh coup, while Eisenhower farmed out the job to the Dulles brothers within a matter of days subsequent to taking presidential power - the reason? An International communist conspiracy of course; or at least that was how Eisenhower and Dulles bought the bill of goods from the British, just like Congress bought the WMD threat in the "war on terror" today. Mossadegh was a very popular nationalist hero of Iran, he was the first leader to nationalize Western oil interests in the middle east for the benefit of his people, and the eclipse of the AIOC oil company for the British sounded Britain's death knell as an imperial power. In this event the British could only imagine one outcome: war in Iran to regain the oil, or alternatively a political coup to take power from Iran's democratically elected leader. John Foster Dulles [Secretary of State] and Alan Dulles [Director of the CIA] were the ultimate cold warriors. The Dulles brothers simply bought the middle eastern communist domino theory by hook, line and sinker. Certainly Dulles was one of the earliest incarnations of the Neo-conservative with an overwhelming fear and paranoia re the communist threat, a fear and paranoia well in line with "war on terror" paranoia today - that is, a very real fear of probable attacks that cannot be guessed at or imagined, and based upon darkest human fears and weakness. In their fear of communism, the Dulles brothers opted to reject and defeat one key principle of American foreign policy: the principle that the CIA does not covertly overthrow foreign sovereign governments. The idea that autonomous sovereign nations have a right to exist is deeply rooted in Westphalian principle [referring to the Treaty of Westphalia] and is deeply embedded in democratic ideology, philosophy and international law. Essentially the Dulles brothers decided that the "communist threat" in conjunction with the domino theory was serious enough to merit the destruction of deeply held democratic beliefs. To reinforce this ideal of destruction of a sovereign nation-state it is logical to assume that whether by political coup or warfare the ends remain the same regardless of the means, therefore the Dulles brothers were the first [but not the last] of the new-Machiavellian politicians. To further reinforce the idea John Foster Dulles certainly considered a sort of Monroe doctrine in reverse to apply to the middle east, specifically the idea that 'devine right' allowed the United States to follow any "anti-communist" mandate anywhere in the world, thus serving an imagined 'higher' moral principle. On this basis Alan Dulles selected Kermit Roosevelt [an experienced Middle East CIA operative] to take out Mossadegh and get Pahlavi in, and the success of this political coup represented a very important step in America's capability to covertly influence or replace foreign sovereign governments in economically and politically strategic regions. Now in Iran we begin to see the special nature of the American hegemon as it attempted to consolidate power in the Middle East through covert operations in conjunction with Israel's ascendance as the number one military power in the region, and these key developments relate directly to the Road to War in Iraq.
 This was the ultra-secret so-called Cheney Task Force on Energy, headed by US Vice-President Dick Cheney, and details concerning these meetings were only released under court order after a long legal battle waged by the public interest group Judicial Watch.
 Presumably the disadvantaged position of US oil companies in Saddam Hussein's Iraq would have been on the minds of senior oil company executives in their secret meetings with Cheney and his task force in early 2001. The administration refuses to divulge exactly who met with the Energy Task Force, and Cheney continues to fight legal challenges to disclose. However a 2003 report by the General Accounting Office concluded that the task force relied on advice from the oil industry, an industry with very close ties to the Bush regime. The Cheney task force has been widely criticized for recommending larger energy industry subsidies, with very little focus on Cheney's potential role as broker for consultation between Big Oil and the administration on appropriation of Iraq's energy resources.[b] An intriguing document indicates that there was a connection between Cheney's Task Force and Big Oil: this was a National Security Council directive dated February, 2001, instructing NSC staff to co-operate fully with Cheney's Energy Task Force. The NSC document [reported in The New Yorker magazine] noted that Cheney's Task Force would consider the "melding" of two policy areas: "the review of operational policies towards rogue states" and "actions regarding the capture of new and existing oil and gas fields." The foregoing certainly implies a Cheney Task Force consideration of future geopolitical moves which would relate to the capture of oil and gas reserves in "rogue" states including Iraq.[c] It is therefore exceedingly likely that Big Oil was involved in discussions with the Bush administration about getting oil out of Iraq by way of the Cheney Energy Task Force. But Big Oil never sought the high profile that such an overt involvement with the Task Force would imply, and the apparent clandestine involvement of Big Oil in the decision to invade Iraq helps explain the otherwise baffling secrecy surrounding Cheney's Energy Task Force.
 From Emmanuel Goldstein's Extracts From the Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism we quote: [a] "The social atmosphere is that of a besieged city... and at the same time the consciousness of being at war, and therefore in danger, makes the handing-over of all power to a small caste seem the natural, unavoidable condition of survival." [b] "It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist." [c] "In his capacity as an administrator, it is often necessary for a member of the Inner Party to know that this or that item of war news is untruthful, and he may be aware that the entire war is spurious and is either not happening or is being waged for purposes quite other than the declared ones: but such knowledge is easily neutralized by the technique of doublethink. Meanwhile no Inner Party member wavers for an instant in his mystical belief that the war is real, and that it is bound to end victoriously, with Oceania the undisputed master of the entire world."
 The purchase of freedom for the hostages in exchange for terrorist weapons raised serious moral and ethical questions for the Reagan administration: trading weapons for a 'strategic opening' was reprehensible particularly when such weapons were delivered to a country engaged in a major military offensive versus a US ally, namely Iraq. Reagan falsely claimed that such weapons were defensive in nature, however there can be no doubt that anti-tank missiles are offensive weapons. US officials knew that Iran wanted the weapons for 'urgent need' as "...weapons to be used in offensive operations versus Iraq" - an Iraq that the United States itself actively embraced as an ally! Can any more devious or perverted course of action be conjured, imagined or contemplated? Meanwhile the actual military intelligence passed from the US to the Iranians was a mixture of the factual and the bogus. The intention was to discourage Iran's final offensive, for example by exaggerating Soviet troop movements on their northern border. But if the US wanted to discourage a major Iranian attack the solution was simply to inform Teheran that Washington had a contingency plan to leverage US air power in the event of an Iranian break-out, however misinformation about Soviet build-ups was intended to incite Iran vs the Soviet and Iranian communists.
A Pretext for War Bamford, James: Doubleday June, 2004
 ``Look, the basic question here is what will you say when you are asked or what would you say if you are asked about a shipment of HAWK missiles [to Iran] in November of 1985? Ledeen said, ``I said I would tell the truth which was that I was aware of it, that I knew that it had happened, but that I was not aware or could not recall who had made the decision to do it or when that decision had been made.`` North said, ``Fine.`` (Ledeen, Grand Jury, 9/30/87, pp. 81-82.)
20. From Armed Madhouse by Greg Palast page 12
- David Harvey , The New Imperialism, Oxford University Press, 2003
-  Douglas Feith has publically and privately maintained extremist views, including repudiation of the Oslo Peace Accords while advocating war versus the Palestinian people; Feith opposed the Biological Weapons Convention in 1986; Feith opposed the 1988 Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention in 1997, and Feith opposed the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in the year 2000. Feith's 1992 article in Commentary magazine stated: "It is in the interest of U.S. and Israel to remove needless impediments to technological cooperation between them. Technologies in the hands of responsible, friendly countries facing military threats, countries like Israel, serve to deter aggression, enhance regional stability and promote peace thereby." In 1982 Feith was expelled from his position at the National Security Council subsequent to investigations relating to leaking secret information to an official at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. Subsequent to Feith's dismissal he was hired as an assistant to Special Counsel by Richard Perle [at that time Perle was DoD Assistant Secretary for International Security Policy] and Feith was promoted to Deputy Assistant Secretary for Negotiations Policy. Feith's office is presently under investigation by the FBI for espionage in the Franklin spy affair; Larry Franklin and another "specialist" from Douglas Feith's office, Harold Rhode, were among the officials who established contacts with the Iranian arms dealer, Manucher Ghorbanifar, and Iranian refugees abroad which led to the Iran Contra scandal under Ronald Reagan.
- David Wurmser is the least known of the radical Neocon authors of the "Clean Break" document. Wurmser began as a research fellow and became director of the Middle East Studies program at the American Enterprise Institute funded by radical extremist Irving Moscowitz before being assigned to the Pentagon. Wurmser then moved on to the Department of State as deputy to another Neocon extremist, John Bolton; Wurmser is now lodged in the office of US Vice President Richard Cheney as an advisor to the National Security Council.
Related SourceWatch articles
- Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002
- Bush administration: duped into war with Iraq?
- Bush administration rationales for war in Iraq
- Claim that weapons of mass destruction were in Iraq
- Congressional actions on the Iraq War prior to the 2003 U.S. invasion
- Justifications for the US-Iraq 2003 war: "preemption" or "preemptive war"
- Oil imperialism
- The leaked Cabinet Office briefing paper, July 21, 2002: "Iraq: Conditions for Military Action"
- U.S.-backed Iraqi exiles
- Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq
- Yellowcake forgery