The Observer | Deep roots of Bush's hatred for Saddam - This article describes how today's policy came about, beginning twelve years ago when, shortly after the Gulf War, Dick Cheney (now Vice-President of the United States) and Paul Wolfowitz (presently Deputy Secretary for Defence) collected their thoughts concerning a trajectory for US foreign policy.
"What they argued in that memo was that America should have no rival on the planet - neither among friends nor enemies - and should use military might to enforce such a new order.There was nothing sudden about this development, nothing suprising, no change of aim or even of tack. What has changed is marked by a slight increase in typical citizens' willingness to acknowledge how corporate capitalism drips blood from every pore.
The paper's initial concern was raw power. Formally a draft for the Pentagon's 'Defence Planning Guidance' for the years 1994-1999, the document's first stated objective was to 'establish and protect a new order' and 'to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival' to the US.
Crucially, it would include a second innovation: a doctrine of the use of pre-emptive military force that should include the right and ability to strike firs against any threat from chemical or biological weapons, and 'punishment' of any such threat 'through a variety of means', including attacks on military bases or missile silos.
The two men had not finished there. In a rebuff to the multilateralism of the UN, they argued that the US should expect future alliances to be 'ad-hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted'. In Europe, Germany was singled out as a possible rival to US power, on the Pacific Rim Japan. 'We must seek to prevent the emergence of European-only security arrangements,' said the document.
By the spring of 1997 a hard core of activists from the neo-conservative wing of the Republican Party had begun pushing hard for a new policy on Iraq. Many were men such as Wolfowitz who had enjoyed positions in the first Bush administration and their efforts were coalescing around a new think-tank. Donald Rumsfeld, Cheney and others had formed the Project for the New American Century, whose vision included the enactment of Cheney and Wolfowitz's dream of unilateral US power. Soon they would begin lobbying for regime change in Iraq.
[In early 1998] the group called for 'the removal of Saddam's regime from power', insisting that the US 'should establish and maintain a strong US military presence in the region, and be prepared to use that force to protect our vital interests in the [Persian] Gulf - and, if necessary, to help remove Saddam from power.' "
The end of this new age of robber barons will come when individuals take back onto themselves, singularly and as members of community, the responsibility of defying bullies. Until then it's just a matter of seeking protection from thugs for hire.