Dreyfuss credited the “hijacking” of the U.S administration by the “neo-con” (neo-conservative) currents in Washington, D.C., who’ve have worked together for years through such organizations as the American Enterprise Institute and Project for a New American Century (PNAC). “There are dozens of such groups with the same outlook and networks that interact,” he said, “and they include leading administration officials such as Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Defense Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, Undersecretary of Defense Doug Feith, others sprinkled through the Pentagon, the State Department’s John Bolton and Cheney’s daughter, Elizabeth Cheney in the economic development section of the State Department’s Middle East department.”
In his American Prospect article, Dreyfuss wrote: “Six years ago, in its founding statement of principles, PNAC called for a radical change in U.S. foreign and defense policy, with a beefed-up military budget and a more muscular stance abroad, challenging hostile regimes and assuming `American global leadership.’” It was signed by Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney’s chief of staff I. Lewis Libby and Gov. Jeb Bush, the president’s brother, among others. “The PNAC statement foreshadowed the outline of the president’s 2002 national security strategy,” he wrote.
The invasion of Iraq, as a component of this strategy, was not supported by many in the U.S. military, including Gen. Zinni and Gen. Wesley Clark, former head of the Allied Command, Dreyfuss noted, and top levels of the CIA, who knew there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq nor government ties to al Qaeda. terrorists.
But Rumsfeld and Cheney used “kindergarten rhetoric” to convince President Bush to invade, Dreyfuss said. “The battle for Bush’s mind was won over last summer.”
The invasion was the latest step in a 30-year U.S. military build-up in the gulf region, beginning with the 1973-74 oil crisis that led to long gas lines in the U.S. All the oil-producing nations in the region except Iraq supported a boycott against the U.S. at that time. “The seeds were planted by Henry Kissinger for a U.S. military presence in the gulf in 1974,” he said. The subsequent “Carter Doctrine” stated that “any threat to the Persian Gulf was a threat to U.S. national security interests,” and the establishment of a “rapid deployment force” for the region “marked the beginning of American military policy toward the gulf.” Under Reagan, the “central command” was established with rapid deployment capabilities extending from Egypt to Afghanistan and U.S. basing rights in Bahrain. Gulf War I (Desert Storm) “changed everything,” Dreyfuss noted, “with U.S. bases being welcomed everywhere.”