Subscribe to EIR Online
This article appears in the October 1, 2004 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

In Iraq: The Neo-Con
Perpetual War Policy

by Carl Osgood

While the content of a July 2004 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq, leaked to the New York Times on Sept. 16, shows the folly of the Bush-Cheney war policy in Iraq, Bush's public response to that intelligence estimate puts a fine point on Lyndon LaRouche's warning that a second Bush-Cheney Administration would mean "perpetual war and economic hell." According to the Times, the NIE outlines three possible scenarios for Iraq, ranging from a tenuous stability at best, to a civil war at worst. "There's a significant amount of pessimism," one government official told the Times.

Significantly, the estimate was initiated by then-CIA director George Tenet, not long before he resigned on July 9, and the completed document was approved by the National Intelligence Council soon after, by acting CIA director John McLaughlin and the heads of other intelligence agencies.

Bush's response to the NIE document was first indicated by White House spokesman Scott McClellan, who told reporters travelling with Bush on Air Force One on Sept. 17 that "The role of the CIA is to look at different scenarios" and that the "pessimists and naysayers" had been wrong about the Iraqi people's ability to establish a transitional government, and so on. Speaking during an appearance with Iraqi interim Prime Minister Iyad Allawi in New York on Sept. 21, Bush said that the CIA was "just guessing as to what the conditions" in Iraq might be like. These statements followed a week in which some 300 Iraqi civilians were killed in insurgent attacks, and followed the first half of a month in which the U.S. death toll in Iraq is likely to reach highest monthly total since April.

Media commentaries attacking the Bush fantasy have been widespread. Time magazine's Joe Klein commented, "Scott McClellan is beginning to sound like Baghdad Bob, the infamous spokesman for Saddam who announced hallucinatory Iraqi victories as the American troops closed in on Baghdad." Klein warned that "If the National Intelligence Estimate is accurate, we are facing a far more dangerous world than existed before the war."

An editorial in the St. Petersburg Times wrote, "U.S. generals and State Department experts warned before the start of the war that restoring Iraq's political and economic stability would be more difficult and require a larger and lengthier U.S. commitment, than removing Hussein from power, but the President and his war council ignored those warnings and punished some of the officials who dared to issue them.

Iraq Is Lost

Even before the leaking of the NIE, there were commentaries from retired military officers stating that the U.S. has lost the war in Iraq. Former Clinton Administration official Sidney Blumenthal, writing in the Sept. 16 London Guardian, quoted a number of retired generals to that effect. Blumenthal reported that retired Gen. William Odom had told him: "Bush hasn't found the WMD. Al-Qaeda, it's worse on that front. That he's going to achieve a democracy there? That goal is lost, too. It's lost." Odom added "Right now, the course we're on, we're achieving bin Laden's ends." Former U.S. Central Command chief Gen. Joseph Hoar told Blumenthal: "The idea that this is going the way these guys planned is ludicrous. There are no good options. We're conducting a campaign as though it were being conducted in Iowa, no sense of the realities on the ground. It's so unrealistic for anyone who knows that part of the world. The priorities are just all wrong."

Hoar's view is also shared at U.S. military educational institutions. A professor of history at one such institution told EIR, "Ninety percent of the people here on the faculty have been convinced since the Summer that the Iraq war has been lost and the U.S. needs to get out before even more damage is done." He said that this view is shared by top faculty at all of the major U.S. military academies, and is now bolstered by the leak of the NIE assessment that Iraq is a total mess. The professor conceded that a U.S. pullout would likely trigger a civil war among rival factions in Iraq, but said that the continuing U.S. military presence is only exacerbating the problem. "The U.S. must leave, with firm commitments to the reconstruction of Iraq's economy once the power struggle has been sorted out," he said. "It is like Afghanistan in the 1990s but on a far grander and far more dangerous scale. The impact will spread from Morocco to Indonesia, impacting more than 1 billion Muslims," he warned.

These concerns are not recent. Back in July, recently retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor, long a critic of how the Army organizes itself, noted, during testimony to the House Armed Services Committee on July 15, that, during World War II, the U.S. was very good at thinking through what must be done when occupying a defeated country. During the Korean War, he said, "Douglas MacArthur was criticized very heavily by the Truman Administration's State Department, because his first action once we landed at Inchon and had retaken Seoul, was to reinstall Syngman Rhee, the unelected dictator of South Korea. The State Department said, the man's not elected, he can't hold this position, get rid of him, we have to have a democratically elected person. General MacArthur said that's true and that will eventually happen, but Koreans must be governed by Koreans, not Americans, and we have to fight and win this war."

In Iraq, Macgregor said, "We forgot that Arabs ultimately must govern Arabs. We could have rounded up not exiles from outside the country, but people right there, general officers who did not fight, who were willing to cooperate with us. We could have forced to reconstitute as much of that army as possible as quickly as possible." The Iraqi Army, he said "was the only national institution in the country, and we didn't do that." Hence, the disaster that the U.S. faces, today.

None of this has been lost on Democratic Presidential candidate John Kerry, who came out swinging in a speech at New York University on Sept. 20. Kerry warned, "Invading Iraq has created a crisis of historic proportions, and if we don't change course, there is the prospect of a war with no end in sight." He noted that violence against Iraqis is on the rise, and that basic living conditions are deteriorating, including electricity blackouts of up to 14 hours per day, raw sewage and garbage is filling the streets, and unemployment is more than 50%. "Insurgents are able to find plenty of people willing to take $150 to toss a grenade at a passing U.S. convoy," he said.

Kerry charged that Bush "failed to tell the truth about the rationale for going to war, and he failed to tell the truth about the burden this war would impose on our soldiers and our citizens." He noted that the two main rationales for war, the Iraq-9/11 connection and weapons of mass destruction, have both been proved false, and that even Secretary of State Colin Powell has admitted as much. "Only Vice President Cheney still insists that the Earth is flat," Kerry said. Later in the speech, Kerry noted that 35 to 40 countries have a greater capability to build a nuclear bomb than Iraq did in 2003. "Is President Bush saying we should invade them all?" Kerry asked.

The Perpetual War Policy

Lyndon LaRouche provided the answer to Kerry's question in his Sept. 20 statement. "A Bush-Cheney re-election by a terrorized, manipulated American electorate would bring on not only perpetual wars all over the planet: It would bring about the biggest economic collapse in modern history," LaRouche said.

The entire so-called "War on Terrorism," with its associated wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is, as EIR has shown, the product of a deliberate policy of perpetual war. That policy, formulated by a gang of neo-cons in the Bush Administration, is intended to take the world back to the condition it was in, prior to the 1648 Treaty of Westphalia, which brought to an end nearly 150 years of destructive, bloody, religious warfare in Europe.

The present policy was elaborated in the now-infamous "Clean Break" document in 1996 written under the auspices of a Jerusalem-Washington think tank, the Institute for Advanced Strategic and Policy Studies (IASPS), for the just-elected Jabotinskyite, Benjamin Netanyahu, as prime minister of Israel. That document, authored by former Defense Policy Board chairman Richard Perle and a team of fellow neo-cons, called for: 1) the destruction of Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, blaming them for every act of Palestinian terrorism, including the attacks from Hamas; 2) inducing the United States to overthrow Saddam Hussein in Iraq; 3) launching war against Syria after Saddam is overthown; 4) parlaying the overthrow of the regimes in Syria and Iraq into the "democratization" of the entire Muslim world, including further military actions against Iran, Saudi Arabia, and even Egypt. In addition to Perle, the authors of "Clean Break" included Douglas Feith, now Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; David Wurmser, now an official in the office of Vice President Cheney; Wurmser's wife, Meyrav, of the Hudson Institute; Charles Fairbanks, Jr., and others.

It is no secret that the "Clean Break" document is the strategic doctrine of both the Bush 43 regime in the United States, and the Israeli government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Both have pursued it with glee, especially since the Sept. 11, 2001, irregular warfare attacks on New York and Washington. Since the Iraq invasion alone, in March 2003, Sharon has managed to completely sabotage the tepid U.S. effort at finding a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, to the point where he is now openly threatening to assassinate Arafat (as he already has done with numerous leaders of Hamas).

On the other side of the Atlantic, the U.S. has stepped up its diplomatic warfare against both Syria and Iran, with the passage and implementation of the Syria Accountability Act and the campaign against Iran's nuclear program. A pre-emptive strike on Iran, either by the U.S. or Israel, cannot be ruled out at this point, nor can an Israeli attack on Syria. That danger was underscored on Sept. 20 by reports that the U.S. was preparing to transfer 5,000 air-dropped bombs to Israel, under its military aid program. Included among the 5,000 bombs are: five-hundred 2,000-pound BLU-109s, designed to penetrate more than six feet of reinforced concrete, obviously ideal for attacking reactor containment buildings, and other nuclear facilities.

Nor have the neo-cons ignored Saudi Arabia, as shown by a Sept. 9 forum on that country at the Hudson Institute, home of Meyrav Wurmser. A panel that included British Arab Bureau agent Prof. Bernard Lewis, argued that the U.S. has to cut all ties with Saudi Arabia, including cutting off oil imports. National Review editor David Pryce-Jones, who, like Lewis is British, complained that "stability means the continuation of tyranny," and said that the only way to destroy tyranny is "through force of arms." Pryce-Jones praised the U.S. intervention in Iraq as the way to the future, and warned, "If we're not prepared to consider the occupation of Saudi Arabia or war on Iran, all of our good intentions [sic!] may pave the road to Hell."

These perpetual wars are not to be limited to Southwest Asia, either. They are to be spread to North Korea, and China, and perhaps even to Russia. As EIR reported last week ("Neo-Cons Knee Deep in Caucasus Provocations," by Jeffrey Steinberg), former Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski is involved up to his ears in the ongoing provocations against Russia. Membership in Brzezinski's American Committee for Peace in Chechnya includes many of the neo-con leading lights behind Cheney's perpetual war policy: Perle and Fairbanks, as well as Michael Ledeen and Joshua Muravchik of the American Enterprise Institute, Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, and William Kristol, among many others. In a Sept. 20 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, in which he compared Russian President Vladimir Putin to Mussolini, Brzezinski issued a veiled warning that Russia must get out of the Caucasus and that the U.S. must help secure Russia's neighbors in order for "democracy to thrive" in Russia.

War Will Be the Norm, Peace the Exception

The perpetual war policy, of course, requires an army designed to fight perpetually, which the U.S. Army, heretofore, has not been designed to do. The Cold War U.S. Army had been structured to fight short but decisive campaigns, and is now being reorganized to fight continuously. Senior Army leaders do not hide the fact that this is what is going on. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody, in remarks to a Sept. 17 luncheon on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the Defense Forum Foundation, described the entire process in some detail. Among other things, Cody said that the institutional Army, including the logistics base, will have to be reorganized onto a "wartime footing," because "we believe war will be the norm for a while and peace will be the exception."

Within that context, and that of the commentary noted above, EIR asked Cody whether or not the insurgency war the U.S. is now fighting in Iraq is winnable. He first complained that the metric that people use "could lead you in different ways." He then said that nobody should expect that transforming Iraq from 30 years of a brutal dictatorship to freedom and democracy can be done quickly, but he then expressed optimism. "I think over time this is winnable," he said. "It has to be winnable because at the end of the day this is a test of wills, and we cannot falter. We have to stay the course." He concluded that "you either understand" that this is a test of wills, "or you can start applying your own metrics and lane-grading it day by day and come out with the wrong conclusion. This is a test of wills, and we've absolutely got to win it, and if we falter, we will have home games," meaning, there will be terrorist attacks on U.S. soil.

The way the Army is reorganizing itself reflects the implementation of the perpetual war policy, while at the same time rejecting the principles applied by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Gen. Douglas MacArthur to fight and bring to an end to World War II, as rapidly as possible. To begin with, there is no large-scale economic mobilization of the economy to fight and win the war. During World War II, the United States put 16 million men into uniform, trained and equipped them, and sustained them in combat from New Guinea to the fields of France and Germany. In the post-industrial "Information Age," such a mobilization is deemed unnecessary.

When the World War II mobilization was pointed to by this author at an Aug. 19 Heritage Foundation forum on Army force structure, Brig. Gen. David Fastabend, the director of the Army Training and Doctrine Command's Futures Center at Fort Monroe, Virginia, essentially said "Oh, we don't do that, any more." In other words, we don't build conscript armies and we don't accept the kinds of casualty rates that were normal during World War II. "It takes time to grow leaders, and to get equipment," he said, not to mention the fact, that it takes time for the industrial base to produce the needed additional equipment. If Fastabend had been honest, he would have noted that the U.S. industrial base is no longer capable of being mobilized for a rapid expansion of the Army because it has been gutted by the post-industrial policies of the last 40 years.

Fastabend's comments followed a discussion which argued that the Army does not need an increase in personnel end strength, despite its heavy reliance on National Guard and Army Reserve units (140,000 people on active duty as of Sept. 22), its calling up of members of the Individual Ready Reserve, and its resort to measures such as stop-loss, to keep soldiers in the Army beyond the end of their obligations.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has granted the Army permission temporarily to go over its statutory end strength of 482,500 by 30,000, for a period of up to three years. This is to provide what they call "head space," so that the Army can reorganize itself to carry out the perpetual war policy. That reorganization includes increasing the Army's combat brigades from 33 to 43, with a new "modular" organization. The new brigades, termed "units of action," will be somewhat smaller than the current brigade combat teams and they are intended to provide a larger rotation base for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, both of which the Army figures will go on for some time. These modular brigades will be of only three types, light, heavy and a medium type based on the Stryker wheeled armored vehicle. These brigades will consist of two combat battalions and a battalion of reconnaissance and support troops, allowing divisions to be reorganized with four brigades instead of the more traditional three.

Whether the modular brigade plan will actually work is another question. Colonel Macgregor told the House Armed Services Committee, on July 15, that the modular brigade plan "is a dangerous action and unsupported by either contemporary battlefield experience or rigorous analysis." He argued that the new formations will actually require more support from division and corps level headquarters and "will not be capable of independent operations inside a joint expeditionary force as a result." He added that the concept "looks like an attempt to equate a near-term requirement to rotate smaller formations through occupation duty with the transformation of the Army into a new war-fighting structure," but the two missions, he said, are not the same.

In fact, that is exactly what the Army is attempting to do. As Army Vice Chief of Staff Cody described in his Sept. 17 remarks, the Army is trying to transform itself into a new, Information Age army, while at the same time fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and whatever future wars are imposed on it. That Army leaders have been so willing to "drink the Kool-Aid," rather than speak the truth as former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki did, shows that their institution is fast becoming another victim of the perpetual wars of Dick Cheney and the neo-cons.

Back to top