Thank goodness for the “Defense Science Board” (DSB). According to Associated Press reporter Robert Burns, the “Pentagon advisory panel” recently released a report concluding, among other things, “the U.S. invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq have created a shared anti-American cause among otherwise-divided Muslim extremists...” and that “the root of the problem…is a fundamental misunderstanding of why many Muslims are hostile toward the United States. They ‘hate our policies,’ not our freedom…”
I think this same group also produced a paper determining that, on average, fish live longer in water than on land.
Not only does DSB’s analysis state the obvious, but if this is what passes for timeliness these days, I suppose in another three years we can expect a white paper breathlessly concluding that millions of people believing elections are rigged may undermine the democratic process.
But, better late than never, eh? Sure, the DSB report’s startling conclusion that we’ve unified terrorists and raised the dander of the entire Muslim world, not because of our (fast-diminishing) liberties, but because we attacked Iraq for no earthly reason comes, oh, about 100,000 deaths and hundreds of billions of dollars too late, but, hey, in the rabbit hole known as Bushworld, that’s life.
Or, more accurately, death.
I know: Silly reports have existed forever. However, they’re usually not preceded by millions of people publicly shouting the conclusions years beforehand, as throngs repeatedly did worldwide in anti-war protests before the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The streets weren’t filled then with noisy prophets, but rather, according to our heartless leader, members of history’s largest “focus group.” In what passes for Dubya’s mind, our dire warnings were simply piffling annoyances ripe for impugning, then ignoring -- sort of like how presidential election exit polls are treated (unless they’re Ukrainian).
We were just a bunch of dirty, decrepit hippies obsessed with attending massive demonstrations replete with clever, if misspelled, signs.
Except we weren’t dirty, we weren’t decrepit and we weren’t hippies (well, most of us weren’t, anyway). We certainly were a bunch, though. A big bunch. A big friggin’ bunch…of enraged, informed people who were chanting, singing, and yelling to the high heavens about what a phony deal the whole Hussein-is-a-threat spookfest was, marching en masse trying to prevent the first missile from flying because we knew if it did, there was no going back and the whole rottenly immoral thing would inescapably become a horrifying, intractable mess, and the last thing in the world we wanted was to only be left with the absolute zero satisfaction of saying we told you so.
Well, here we are. And, dammit, we told you so.
Perhaps I’m being a little unreasonable about this report business, though. After all, millions of other Americans seem perturbed not a whit whether a disturbing report is tardy, like the DSB effort; suppressed, like the still-unreleased CIA 9/11 analysis that writer Robert Scheer says “names names”; or gutted, like the 2002 pre-invasion weapons inventory from Iraq that, according to Amy Goodman in her book The Exception to the Rulers, should have gone directly to the U.N. but was instead heavy-handedly intercepted by the U.S. and severely edited before given to the world body. (Something to do with scrubbing clean the names of “at least twenty-four U.S. corporations that helped Iraq build its pre-Gulf War weapons programs and rockets,” if you can imagine such a thing.)
Worse, far too many Americans don’t even show much concern about a certain mad manifesto that has been readily available for years on the Internet in all its conscienceless glory and serves as the very blueprint for the Bushies’ delusional imperialism.
I speak of “Rebuilding America’s Defenses: Strategy, Forces and Resources for a New Century,” a 90-page epic published in September 2000 by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).
If you’re unaware of PNAC, go to its web site and take a gander. Make sure you have some Alka-Seltzer on hand. (Or something stronger for which you’ll need Alka-Seltzer later.) Among PNAC’s founding members: Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliott Abrams, Jeb Bush, and Donald “Hell, I’m an Evil Old Man” Rumsfeld. (I threw in the “evil” part; it seemed to fit.)
Familiarizing oneself with PNAC and its agenda of maintaining “American [global] preeminence through the coming transformation of war made possible by new technologies” (“Rebuilding…,” pages 2-3) is all one really needs to know about the outright insanity that poses as American foreign “policy” today. I’ve cribbed the following few nougats from “Rebuilding...” to provide a brief taste of PNAC nuttiness:
One of PNAC’s “four core missions for U.S. military forces” is to “perform the [global] ‘constabulary’ duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions” (page iv).
Nothing like being the world’s top cop (or bully) to help “protect American interests and principles” (page 3). PNAC talks a lot about American interests and principles. I suspect these “interests” might quite closely mirror those of American corporations. I’m not so sure about the principles, though.
Another “Rebuilding...” goodie: “Control the new ‘international commons’ of space and ‘cyberspace,’ and pave the way for the creation of a new military service -- U.S. Space Forces -- with the mission of space control” (page v).
The USSF will surely have spiffy-lookin’ uniforms, perhaps modeled upon Dubya’s “Dictator Special” jacket (complete with Marine Corps patch, “Commander-in-Chief” stitching, and, of course, epaulets) he wore while speaking at Camp Pendleton recently.
I’ll admit, there’s an awful lot of kooky stuff laced throughout PNAC’s 90-page treatise. Is any of it really going to come to pass, though, or is it just a wacky wish list from a cracked flock of half-cocked chicken hawks? Let’s have a look-see:
“Further, the process of [U.S. military] transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor” (page 51).
“Indeed, the United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in [Persian] Gulf regional security. While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the immediate justification, the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein” (page 14).
“For U.S. armed forces to continue to assert military preeminence, control of space -- defined by Space Command as ‘the ability to assure access to space, freedom of operations within the space medium, and an ability to deny others the use of space’ -- must be an essential element of our military strategy” (page 55).
Baby nukes? In there. Star Wars? Ditto.
Biological warfare, even? Why do you even ask? (“And advanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool” [page 60].)
“Rebuilding…” provides the basis for America’s National Security Strategy with its “Bush Doctrine” of pre-emptive war. That’s right: the tenet that holds it’s perfectly OK for America to invade and occupy any old oil-laden country it wants to. No threat needed and no questions asked (by the lapdog media, that is).
There is a plus side to all of this: As the American neo-empire inevitably crumbles under its own spirit-crushing weight, we can save a lot of trouble for future analysts researching the cause by just giving them a copy of “Rebuilding...”
I’ve addressed “Rebuilding…” before, but it’s worth regularly re-examining a document that has far more influence on how America operates today than the one upon which real American principles were based for over two centuries. Had more Americans revisited the Constitution more often before the Bushies contemptuously inserted it into the historical shredder, perhaps our beloved country wouldn’t now be laboring for each weak breath.
One other thing: For those denigrators of the irrefutably demonstrated collective wisdom of the focus groupers (not to be confused with Blue Spotted Groupers, who aren’t all that wise; ‘course, it could be the schools they’re in), it would behoove such belittlers to become believers and beware because we are telling you now this country is far beyond nine-tenths of the way down the crapper, and unless things change inmediatamente, America the Beautiful, as a beautiful concept, is gone forever -- at least from these lands. It’s entirely possible our GCP (Great Cosmic Purpose) has been all along to come up with a great idea and tinker with it long enough to allow other countries time to adopt and improve upon it and actually make it work while, in the end, we torturously melt down into a vast, steaming sea of red, white, and blue, hubris-ridden sludge.
But after the fall, please: Don’t ask us why we didn’t tell you so.
Mark Drolette is a political satirist/commentator who lives in Sacramento, California. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright © 2004 Mark Drolette. All rights reserved.
* Christine Spolar of the Chicago Tribune reports in March 2004 that “U.S. military engineers are overseeing the building of an enhanced system of American bases [in Iraq] designed to last for years” and “U.S. engineers are focusing on constructing 14 ‘enduring bases’ [in Iraq]…”
Other Articles by Mark Drolette