Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

NeoCon Revisionism

Richard Perle [AEI] and Joseph Nye [Kennedy School of Government] discussed US national interests. [ Details: Listen ]

Ref Another view of what refuses to fade away quietly.

* * *

Comments on Information Provided

Perle made some interesting comments about the US military forces in Iraq, prompting Nye to accuse him of historical revisionism. When asked about the US actions in the Middle East, Perle denied PNAC or the NeoCons were attempting to use military force to transform the Middle East. Curiously, Perle’s assertions, as Nye noted, contradicted the stated policies of the NeoCons in the Project for New American Century. The US government, following the cold war, was seen to be in a pre-eminent position to use its military force to transform the world. Even President Bush and Rice, when discussing Iran, Syria, and the “axis of evil” explicitly threatened military force if the evil-doers did not cooperate.

However the NeoCons cast the military disaster in Iraq is a separate issue. The concern is despite combat losses and a failed military strategy, Perle, as he did with the Vanity Fair Article in no way is retracting his commitment to the NeoCon agenda. At best, he’s in denial; at worst he’s rewriting history, and asserting the agenda was a fine one, if only there were enough resources.

Of concern is the DNC response to the NeoCon-GOP approach to international policy. There’s little to suggest, based on Perle’s comments that the GOP-witnesses before Congress are going to grovel before Congress accepting any responsibility. Members of Congress and the public need to be on their toes during all hearings, and be prepared to aggressively challenge the revisionism.

The problem is if the DNC, in asserting a spirit of bipartisanship and the mistaken belief that the GOP is going to reciprocate, are not on their toes, and do not immediately challenge – during the Congressional hearings – the deliberate misstatements. It’s likely that the Congress will accept the open GOP testimony, and other witnesses will provide inputs.

We’ve seen some aggressive questions of Alito; however the Senate was tame, albeit blunt, with Gates. I would prefer that Congress, in advance of the hearings, organize itself to show that it is willing to quickly interject, correct, and put these types of revisionist-interpretations of history on notice: If you’re going to spew forth this non-sense to Congress, you better be prepared for some grilling. I would hope Members of Congress do not think that they have to play nice with those who are as committed as ever to justify illegal activity, or explain it away as something else.

* * *

It’s one thing to rewrite history on whether the US military and civilian leadership did or did not have a plan, agenda, and goal of using military force in Iraq to transform the government; and use US military power to transform the Middle East into something that might resemble principles the US does not practice.

There are limits to US military power. Perle and others should not be left off the hook of they dare to pretend that the express goal, prior to 2001 and 9-11, was not to use military force to remove Saddam From power. Treasury Secretary O’Neill’s handwritten notes and public comments contradict Perle’s assertion that there was no pre-9-11 planning to invade Iraq and transform the Middle East using military power.

Further, it appears Perle’s comments are designed to recast the pre-9-11 events in a new light: “We had no idea”-sire song of Secretary of State [then National Security Advisor] Rice as she did with the possibility of commercial aircraft colliding with buildings. Similarly, the NSA illegal domestic monitoring, outside FISA and beyond the FISA court review, was well under way before 9-11.

Whether prosecutors conclude Perle is deliberately lying, misinformed, reviewing history, or lacks credibility as a witness remains to be adjudicated. It remains to be contrasted: The PNAC report; Perle’s recent denials of US military involvement in Iraq; and the pre Sept 2001 illegal military activity.

___ What role did Perle play in drafting the specific language in the PNAC agenda calling for US power to transform the Middle East?

___ Why does Perle in 2006 have an interest in recasting the pre-9-11 events?

___ How do the 2006 comments attempt to shape the Executive Branch’s media-litigation strategy before Congress?

___ Are Members of Congress willing to use the above type of statements as a basis to impeach a witness as lacking credibility, then forwarding their concerns to the US Attorney for alleged perjury before Congress?

* * *

Perle asserted there was, in the wake of 9-11, a concern that if Saddam were left in place, like Osama, bad things might happen. This argument falls apart when we consider the Saddam-replacement plans were discussed; and the illegal activity had started well before 9-11.

Similarly, if we are to believe that the GOP was concerned that if “something was left in place”, and without action there might be a problem, why is this rule not applied to the GOP in re the US: The risk if the GOP were left in place.

* * *

As for Pakistan, Perle stated that only a fool would overturn that applecart. Perhaps Perle could explain why he thinks the President is anything but a fool for still chomping on the bad apples in Iraq; or is the President a fool for creating an excuse to turn over the Axis of Evil Applecarts.

* * *

As further evidence of Perle’s commitment to the use of force, and fair warning for the public and Congress how the NeoCons view military force despite losing the 2006 election, Perle continues to assert that the early use of limited force is good to prevent a larger disaster.

There was no distinction made between limited force and illegal force, as was the case with Iraq. Whether abuse or illegal activity is or is not limited has no relevance to whether Congress and the President must fully enforce the laws of war.

Again, discussing limited force is more of the recasting of the Iraq invasion, raising questions about the scope of the deception, denial, and NeoCon acceptance that they are or are not complicit with deliberate deceptions. When leaders mislead the public, twist evidence, and make 17 trips to the CIA, then threaten analysis that is one thing; but to continue asserting a “good agenda,” despite the legacy of illegal war crimes and flawed planning is quite another.

The NeoCons, despite their defeat, are still spinning, and have every intention of having their agenda continue, regardless whether their President is or is not removed from office. Until the DNC realizes and fully embraces the scope of the GOP denial, the DNC will not comprehend the forces that they must content: Alleged war criminals who believe they are above the law, and unwilling to cooperate with any fact finding, reality, or accountability. It’s as if the 2006 election and voter rebuke never occurred, and the GOP is winding up, as it did in the wake of the Iran-Contra affair, to win back what they view as an unfair loss.

* * *

As with Iran, Perle and others appear to enjoy misquoting the mistranslation of what the Iranian leadership said about Israel. The fiction is that the Iranians want Israel eliminated. This is a mistranslation. The Iranians view Israel as having a finite time, something that will blow away in the wind, and go the way of the Pharaohs. This is much different than actively seeking their destruction.

Indeed, Iran has been linked with Hezbollah. However, Israel, despite “knowing” this linkage, failed to prevail. The issue isn’t that Iran is a threat, but that Israel, despite formidable opposition, continues to deceive. The Israeli troops which were seized by Hezbollah were inside Lebanon.

Also, on Iran, there’s the fiction that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. The issue isn’t that they are or are not developing nuclear weapons, but the open acceptance that all Iranian nuclear-related efforts are related to weapons. This has not been demonstrated, merely asserted.

* * *

Generational War Ref

There’s another theme floating around about this conflict against Islamic extremists: That the war is going to be a war of generations. This “war of generations” is getting touted as if it were a truism, but problematic.

Consider the Air Force Brig General Comments, and reconsider Iran: As was the case during WWII, the US has a common enemy with unfriendly countries; it would be in the interests of the US to put aside our differences, and focus on the common enemy.

The US worked with the Russians during WWII to fight the common Nazi enemy; the US could US put aside its differences with Iran and Syria, as was the case immediately after 9-11, and jointly work, as it does with Pakistan, to defeat the Islamic extremists.

The US leadership argues that there is a generational war, without considering the war could be swiftly ended if the common enemy were defeated. The US appears to enjoy having more enemies than common victories.

Also, in the theme of “generational warfare,” the US fails to comprehend the losses within its ranks: US citizens, disillusioned with the absurd foreign policy choices, are more of a threat of revoking support for the US leadership. Again, the US appears to prefer targeting specific enemies, regardless the unintended consequences of greater loss of support. The US has failed to heed the lessons of the Taliban and the Iraqi insurgency.

* * *

One theme raised was the notion that the US government can only protect US citizens if other nations cooperate. This is quite a reversal from the days of Washington when alliances were feared in that they might be entangled, as was the case in the Falkland Islands War.

If the US government can no longer, on its own, protect US citizens, then the US government must accept the result: It can no longer comply with the US Constitutional requirement that the US government do just that: Preserve security.

Rather than ignore this Constitutional violations, the standard should inspire some to look for a way to do the following:

- Ensure the US is protected and defended;
- Work with common allies to defeat common foes;
- Put aside differences with some countries to defeat the greater threat
- Work to swiftly end combat operations with joint victories, even if we have to cooperate with Iran and Syria.

Again, the reasons for not cooperating with Iran are based on fictional notions of what Iran did or didn’t say about Israel; or whether Iran is or isn’t creating nuclear weapons. Cheney in the 1970s supporting Iranian nuclear power programs; the US invasions appear more extremist to the Islamic clerics than a few wayward ones lost in Afghani caves.

* * *


The NeoCons, despite losing the 2006 election, are as strong as ever. Indeed, they may have been discredited, but they’re finding new ways to recast their non-sense into something that revises history, and justifies what remains illegal: Occupation, invasion, and abuse of military force.

The NeoCons have their excuse, but have bungled it. Their way forward is to pretend it's someone else’s fault. In their mind, the Iraqi disaster is a godsend: It’s another excuse to keep alive the fear that the enemy is lurking. Indeed, it is enraged at the abuse of American power.

America should remain vigilant in their oversight of the NeoCons. If they are not lawfully defeated but remains in place, they could return as did the Nazis after WWI. Just as the Taliban was not defeated and has returned, so too have the NeoCons reared their head to cause more problems. They’re not in distance caves, but at home, making new excuses to avoid accountability.

Congress needs to be on their toes during these oversight hearings. The GOP is using the same non-sense to achieve the same results in 2006: Abuse of power, reckless conduct, and illegal activity. 9-11 didn’t change anything – it just created a new excuse for the NeoCons to continue doing what they were doing before Sept 2001: Ignoring the law, planning illegal military operations, and looking for an excuse to impose power.

The US after Sept 2001 might have put aside the differences with Iran and Syria, to jointly attack the Islamic extremists. A common objective might have inspired friend and foe alike to cast aside their differences and do abroad what the US government has imposed at home: A police state. If you want to call it something else, Richard Perle would like to talk to you before he and others appear before Congress.