Project for the New American Century

The power behind the Bush throne

U.S. policy should have as its explicit goal removing Saddam Hussein's regime from power and establishing a peaceful and democratic Iraq in its place. We recognize that this goal will not be achieved easily. But the alternative is to leave the initiative to Saddam, who will continue to strengthen his position at home and in the region. Only the U.S. can lead the way in demonstrating that his rule is not legitimate and that time is not on the side of his regime.... We should establish and maintain a strong U.S. military presence in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the Gulf — and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power.

  — William Kristol, Richard Perle, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz,, letter to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate, May 29, 1998.

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled (in Bush v. Gore): "the individual citizen has no federal constitutional right to vote for electors for the President of the United States," it was merely confirming the fact that the policy of the U.S. government policy is not set by its citizens. Even if Bush had won the the 2000 election, the true policymakers are not elected, and in many cases not even appointed by elected officials. One of the major groups setting foreign policy, especially in the Middle East, is the Project for the New American Century (PNAC). Founded by William Kristol, editor of the News Corporation's Weekly Standard, PNAC has become a major influence on the military policy of the U.S. government through two of its leading members, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Defense Policy Board member Richard Perle.

In 1941 Henry Luce, the founding editor of TIME Magazine, anticipated that the United States would emerge from World War 2 as the world's greatest superpower, launching what he termed the "American Century. He believed it was time "to accept wholeheartedly our duty and our opportunity as the most powerful and vital nation of the world and in consequence to assert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such means as we see fit."

In 1972 Paul Wolfowitz received his doctorate from University of Chicago, under the guidance of Albert Wohlstetter, a military strategist who put forward the idea of "graduated deterrence" — limited, small-scale wars fought with "smart" precision-guided bombs. Wohlstetter, a protégé of Leo Strauss, was also a major influence on Richard Perle.

In 1992 a draft policy statement called "Defense Planning Guidance" was prepared for the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy, Paul Wolfowitz. The draft outlined several scenarios in which U.S. interests could be threatened by regional conflict: "access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil; proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, threats to U.S. citizens from terrorism or regional or local conflict, and threats to U.S. society from narcotics trafficking."

In 1995 Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation launched the Weekly Standard. Editor William Kristol previously served as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle.

On June 3, 1997, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) issued its founding Statement of Principles, declaring: "We need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in preserving and extending an international order friendly to our security, our prosperity, and our principles." Signatories include:

On May 29, 1998, PNAC sent a letter to the leadership of the U.S. House of Representatives advocating regime change in Iraq. As a result, Congress, with bipartisan support, passed the Iraq Liberation Act. Section 3 of the Act reads: "It should be the policy of the United States to support efforts to remove the regime headed by Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq and to promote the emergence of a democratic government to replace that regime." Signatories of the PNAC letter include Kristol, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz, along with:

Under Michael Joyce, the Bradley Foundation made 15 grants during the years 1986-2001 totaling nearly $1.9 million to the New Citizenship Project Inc., the parent group of PNAC. (William Kristol serves as chairman of both organizations.) The foundation also is a significant funding source for the American Enterprise Institute, another neoconservative think tank.

On October 15, 2001, a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks, the Weekly Standard published an article titled The Case for the American Empire. The article stated:

Once Afghanistan has been dealt with, America should turn its attention to Iraq. It will probably not be possible to remove Saddam quickly without a U.S. invasion and occupation--though it will hardly require half a million men, since Saddam's army is much diminished since the Gulf War, and we will probably have plenty of help from Iraqis, once they trust that we intend to finish the job this time. Once we have deposed Saddam, we can impose an American-led, international regency in Baghdad, to go along with the one in Kabul. With American seriousness and credibility thus restored, we will enjoy fruitful cooperation from the region's many opportunists, who will show a newfound eagerness to be helpful in our larger task of rolling up the international terror network that threatens us.

On Jan. 14, 2003, as US troops prepared to invade Iraq, William Kristol reviewed the influence of Wolfowitz's 1992 Defense Planning document in a PBS interview:

I think Wolfowitz is now vindicated by history, but it took a long time to get vindicated. And, obviously, the Bush realists, what might be called the minimalist realism of the first Bush administration, was followed by a kind of wishful liberalism of the Clinton administration. And it really wasn't until 9/11 that Wolfowitz's paper, which by that time was nine years old, I think, came to be seen as perhaps prophetic.

In a May 10, 2003, interview with a Vanity Fair reporter, Wolfowitz outlined the strategic reasons for invading Iraq. Though he denied authorship of the 1992 Defense Planning draft, he admitted that the war had little to do with any Iraqi program to develop weapons of mass destruction. "The truth is that for reasons that have a lot to do with the U.S. government bureaucracy we settled on ... weapons of mass destruction as the core reason," Wolfowitz said.

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