How far back was this war planned?
A common claim in the writings surrounding this "War" (again, as a military action, there has been no formal Declaration of War, and further the action seems to be illegal by International Law) is that right-wing Republican hawks have been planning this war for a long time. (e.g. this Washington Monthly article Practice to Deceive) On this page we will trace down the source material and see what was really being said.
The Project for a New American Century
Web Site: NewAmericanCentury.org/
The project was founded in 1997 using these statements of principles:
June 3, 1997
American foreign and defense policy is adrift. Conservatives have criticized the incoherent policies of the Clinton Administration. They have also resisted isolationist impulses from within their own ranks. But conservatives have not confidently advanced a strategic vision of America's role in the world. They have not set forth guiding principles for American foreign policy. They have allowed differences over tactics to obscure potential agreement on strategic objectives. And they have not fought for a defense budget that would maintain American security and advance American interests in the new century.
We aim to change this. We aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership....
There's more along the same lines on the web site. So, this was formed in response to the Clinton years, and part of the broadly based hatred of that administration. The site is publishing papers with topics in this vein.
[September 18, 1998] Paul Wolfowitz, Statement before the House National Security Committee, http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqsep1898.htm
The problem with U.S. policy toward Iraq is that the administration is engaged in a game of pretending that everything is fine, that Saddam Hussein remains within a strategic box and if he tries to break out our response will be swift and strong. The fact is that it has now been 42 days since there have been any weapons inspections in Iraq and the swift and strong response that the Administration threatened at the time of the Kofi Annan agreement earlier this year is nowhere to be seen.
Note, this was delivered in 1998, in the waning years of Pres. Clinton. Clearly this opinion was a guiding principle in the leadup to the current Gulf "War", and note that the speaker is currently Deputy Secretary of Defense and did a lot to push for this new "War". Reading on we see the seed-kernel of the current strategy of the current "War" in Iraq.
The United States is unable or unwilling to pursue a serious policy in Iraq, one that would aim at liberating the Iraqi people from Saddam's tyrannical grasp and free Iraqs neighbors from Saddams murderous threats. Such a policy, but only such a policy, would gain real support from our friends in the region. And it might eventually even gain the respect of many of our critics who are able to see that Saddam inflicts horrendous suffering on the Iraqi people, but who see U.S. policy making that suffering worse through sanctions while doing nothing about Saddam.Administration officials continue to claim that the only alternative to maintaining the unity of the UN Security Council is to send U.S. forces to Baghdad. That is wrong. As has been said repeatedly in letters and testimony to the President and the Congress by myself and other former defense officials, including two former secretaries of defense, and a former director of central intelligence, the key lies not in marching U.S. soldiers to Baghdad, but in helping the Iraqi people to liberate themselves from Saddam.
Saddams main strength -- his ability to control his people though extreme terror -- is also his greatest vulnerability. The overwhelming majority of people, including some of his closest associates, would like to be free of his grasp if only they could safely do so.
A strategy for supporting this enormous latent opposition to Saddam requires political and economic as well as military components. It is eminently possible for a country that possesses the overwhelming power that the United States has in the Gulf. The heart of such action would be to create a liberated zone in Southern Iraq comparable to what the United States and its partners did so successfully in the North in 1991. Establishing a safe protected zone in the South, where opposition to Saddam could rally and organize, would make it possible:
- For a provisional government of free Iraq to organize, begin to gain international recognition and begin to publicize a political program for the future of Iraq;
- For that provisional government to control the largest oil field in Iraq and make available to it, under some kind of appropriate international supervision, enormous financial resources for political, humanitarian and eventually military purposes;
- Provide a safe area to which Iraqi army units could rally in opposition to Saddam, leading to the liberation of more and more of the country and the unraveling of the regime.
Clearly this is exactly the plan currently being carried out in Iraq. The main activity has been an invasion from Kuwait, into Iraq, and set on capturing the port cities of Basra and Uum Qasr. They clearly expected the Shi'ites to welcome them with open arms. But this is not what's happening as of this writing (March 30, 2003).
What's important here is to see this clearly, that the toppling of Iraq was planned at least five years ago. Paul Wolfowitz, the current Undersecretary of Defense, made this presentation, giving this plan, the same plan that's largely being carried out today.
This would be a formidable undertaking, and certainly not one which will work if we insist on maintaining the unity of the UN Security Council. But once it began it would begin to change the calculations of Saddams opponents and supporters -- both inside and outside the country -- in decisive ways. One Arab official in the Gulf told me that the effect inside Iraq of such a strategy would be devastating to Saddam. But the effect outside would be powerful as well. Our friends in the Gulf, who fear Saddam but who also fear ineffective American action against him, would see that this is a very different U.S. policy. And Saddams supporters in the Security Council -- in particular France and Russia -- would suddenly see a different prospect before them. Instead of lucrative oil production contracts with the Saddam Hussein regime, they would now have to calculate the economic and commercial opportunities that would come from ingratiating themselves with the future government of Iraq.
And here it's even more telling. That five years ago it was recognized that France and Russia would resist a war with Iraq, which they actually did (joined by Germany, various other countries, and peoples all over the world), and that they would likely have to damage the United Nations in order to do this. How else can you interpret "will not work if we insist on maintaining the unity of the UN" than, he's purposely bent on damaging the current UN structure?
Glancing around the rest of the web site reveals other papers & writings along the same lines. Here are a few, along with capsule summaries. Generally every article on the site contains, a) Slams of President Clinton and other Democrat party leaders, and b) the presumption that U.S. force should be directly used in the world to force U.S.-centric goals upon the world.
[June 29, 1998; New Jersey Law Journal; John R. Bolton] Welcome Back, Taiwan (newamericancentury.org/china_049.htm) Most of it is a detailed analysis of the U.N. machinations which ejected the Republic of China (that is, Taiwan) from the U.N. and replacing it with the Peoples Republic of China (Mainland China). What's telling is a this statement at the beginning, "In the 1970s, the United Nations was a convenient, indeed preferred, venue for delegitimizing American and Western institutions, values and allies" showing great disdain and perhaps hatred of the United Nations.
Other papers in the East Asia section revolve around all the attacks made against the Clinton Administration about how it dealt with China. It's best demonstrated by this one title: "Clinton's Sorry Excuse for a China Policy Robert Kagan and William Kristol, Weekly Standard, March 22, 1999". (on this page http://www.newamericancentury.org/eastasia1999.htm)
[June 3, 2000; The Washington Post; John Lancaster, Washington Post Staff Writer] In Saddam's Future, A Harder U.S. Line (newamericancentury.org/iraq_001.htm) Written during the 2000 election year, it's a review of various positions against Iraq. It's clear that whoever was elected, either Gore or Bush, was going to take a harder line towards Iraq.
[November 20, 2000; Weekly Standard; Gary Schmitt] State of Terror (newamericancentury.org/Schmitt-112000.pdf) Discusses a claim that all or most "Terrorism" is an act of governments, rather than crazed lunatic fringe elements. As proof a book, The War Against America: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks: A Study of Revenge (and Study of Revenge: Saddam Hussein's Unfinished War Against America), is discussed. The claim is that Iraq covertly "manipulated a largely inept and unimaginative group of muslims" into performing the first World Trade Center bombing. This line of reasoning appears to be behind the shift, in the "post-9/11" days from the Hunt for Al-Queda to Regime Change In Iraq. That is, it's one thing to think of "Stateless Terrorist Groups" acting on their own without funding or guidance from a sitting government, and at the surface that's what we have with Al Queda. Does that mean, then, that the paramilitary Cuban groups in South Florida, all itching to invade Cuba, are funded and directed by the U.S. Government?
[January 7, 1999; MEMORANDUM TO: OPINION LEADERS; MARK LAGON] (newamericancentury.org/iraqjan0799.htm) "Now that the dust has settled from the 70-hour aerial attack on Iraq, it has become clear that the only solution for the threat Iraq poses is to remove Saddam."
[March 9, 1998; Weekly Standard; John Bolton] Kofi Hour (newamericancentury.org/Editorial_Mar9_98.pdf) What is harder to understand is why the Clinton administration allowed him [UN Secretary General Kofi Annan] to go at all [to Iraq to broker peace with Iraq], or permitted him any negotiating flexibility. By the time of Annans departure from New York, the administration had finally, albeit inartfully, rallied an international coalition sufficient to provide political cover for a major military strike against Iraq. Domestically, there was broad, bipartisan agreement about the use of force. Indeed, opinion polls indicated a willingness to go so far as to remove Saddam Hussein from power, a goal well beyond anything contemplated by the administration. American military forces were deployed in the Persian Gulf region and poised to act. There's a presumption here that the U.S. can order the U.N. Secretary General to do whatever the U.S. wants him to do. In general, this article is another keeping up the call for invasion of Iraq and forcefully toppling the government.
[July 6, 2001; MEMORANDUM TO: OPINION LEADERS; TOM DONNELLY] (newamericancentury.org/iraq-070601.htm) George W. Bush came to office declaring he would defend Americas interests in the Persian Gulf by reviving the vision of his fathers Gulf War coalition. But more was promised. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz were signatories to a May 1998 letter, sponsored by the Project for the New American Century, calling for the establishment of a provisional, free government in those areas of northern and southern Iraq not under Saddams control. The letter also argued that U.S. and allied military forces should be prepared to support the Iraqi opposition and be prepared to help remove Saddam from power. Likewise, the Republican Party platform demanded a comprehensive plan for the removal of Saddam Hussein from power. In the hunt for smoking guns, here it is. Hidden within the promises of George W. Bush and the Republican party during the 2000 election year, is a fore-ordained invasion of Iraq to unseat the government there. We've already seen that Wolfowitz, now Deputy Secrety of Defense, had been planning for perhaps a decade to invade Iraq, and we see here that GW Bush had promised to actually do as Wolfowitz proposed.