New Statesman (London) 16 December 2002
John Pilger reveals the American plan
Two years ago a project set up by the men who now surround George W
said what America needed was "a new Pearl Harbor". Its published aims
come alarmingly true, writes John Pilger
The threat posed by US terrorism to the security of nations and
was outlined in prophetic detail in a document written more than two
ago and disclosed only recently. What was needed for
much of humanity and the world's resources, it said, was "some
and catalysing event - like a new
The attacks of
as "the opportunity of ages". The extremists who have since exploited
September come from the era of Ronald Reagan, when far-right groups and
"think-tanks" were established to avenge the American "defeat" in
In the 1990s, there was an added agenda: to justify the denial of a
dividend" following the cold war. The Project for the New American
was formed, along with the American Enterprise Institute, the Hudson
Institute and others that have since merged the ambitions of the Reagan
administration with those of the current Bush regime.
One of George W Bush's "thinkers" is Richard Perle. I interviewed Perle
when he was advising Reagan; and when he spoke about "total war", I
mistakenly dismissed him as mad. He recently used the term again in
war. We are fighting a variety of enemies. There are lots of them out
there. All this talk about first we are going to do
just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely
we don't try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total
. . . our children will sing great songs about us years from now."
Perle is one of the founders of the Project for the New American
the PNAC. Other founders include Dick Cheney, now vice-president,
Rumsfeld, defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defence secretary,
Lewis Libby, Cheney's chief of staff, William J Bennett, Reagan's
secretary, and Zalmay Khalilzad, Bush's ambassador to Afghanistan.
are the modern chartists of American terrorism.
The PNAC's seminal report, Rebuilding America's Defences: strategy,
and resources for a new century, was a blueprint of American aims in
but name. Two years ago it recommended an increase in arms-spending by
$48bn so that
theatre wars". This has happened. It said the
"bunker-buster" nuclear weapons and make "star wars" a national
This is happening. It said that, in the event of Bush taking power,
should be a target. And so it is.
in so many words, as a convenient excuse, which it is. "While the
unresolved conflict with
says, "the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf
transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein."
How has this grand strategy been implemented?
A series of articles in the Washington Post, co-authored by Bob
Watergate fame and based on long interviews with senior members of the
administration, reveals how 11 September was manipulated.
On the morning of
hijackers were, Rumsfeld demanded that the
Woodward, Rumsfeld told a cabinet meeting that
target of the first round in the war against terrorism".
temporarily spared only because Colin Powell, the secretary of state,
persuaded Bush that "public opinion has to be prepared before a move
If Jonathan Steele's estimate in the Guardian is correct, some 20,000
Time and again, 11 September is described as an "opportunity". In last
April's New Yorker, the investigative reporter Nicholas Lemann wrote
Bush's most senior adviser, Condoleezza Rice, told him she had called
together senior members of the National Security Council and asked them
think about 'how do you capitalise on these opportunities'", which she
compared with those of "1945 to 1947": the start of the cold war.
Since 11 September,
the major sources of fossil fuels, especially central
company is to build a pipeline across
Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions, the war crimes provisions
the International Criminal Court and the anti-ballistic missile treaty.
has said he will use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states "if
necessary". Under cover of propaganda about
destruction, the Bush regime is developing new weapons of mass
that undermine international treaties on biological and chemical
In the Los Angeles Times, the military analyst William Arkin describes
secret army set up by Donald Rumsfeld, similar to those run by Richard
Nixon and Henry Kissinger and which Congress outlawed. This
"super-intelligence support activity" will bring together the "CIA and
military covert action, information warfare, and deception". According
classified document prepared for Rumsfeld, the new organisation, known
its Orwellian moniker as the Proactive Pre-emptive Operations Group, or
P2OG, will provoke terrorist attacks which would then require
"counter-attack" by the
In other words, innocent people will be killed by the
is reminiscent of Operation Northwoods, the plan put to President
by his military chiefs for a phoney terrorist campaign - complete with
bombings, hijackings, plane crashes and dead Americans - as
for an invasion of
months later. Now Rumsfeld has resurrected Northwoods, but with
undreamt of in 1963 and with no global rival to invite caution.
You have to keep reminding yourself this is not fantasy: that truly
dangerous men, such as Perle and Rumsfeld and Cheney, have power. The
thread running through their ruminations is the importance of the
"the prioritised task of bringing on board journalists of repute to
"Our position" is code for lying. Certainly, as a journalist, I have
known official lying to be more pervasive than today. We may laugh at
vacuities in Tony Blair's "
But the more insidious lies, justifying an unprovoked attack on
linking it to would-be terrorists who are said to lurk in every Tube
station, are routinely channelled as news. They are not news; they are
This corruption makes journalists and broadcasters mere ventriloquists'
dummies. An attack on a nation of 22 million suffering people is
by liberal commentators as if it were a subject at an academic seminar,
which pieces can be pushed around a map, as the old imperialists used
The issue for these humanitarians is not primarily the brutality of
imperial domination, but how "bad" Saddam Hussein is. There is no
that their decision to join the war party further seals the fate of
thousands of innocent Iraqis condemned to wait on
death row. Their doublethink will not work. You cannot support
piracy in the name of humanitarianism. Moreover, the extremes of
fundamentalism that we now face have been staring at us for too long
those of good heart and sense not to recognise them.