Sunday, November 20, 2005

Ex-insiders speak out, It ain't flattering

PV Vivekanand

PEOPLE who once served the administration of George W Bush Junior have started talking, strengthening the argument of critics that something is seriously wrong in American policy-making and implementation, and things are going wholesale wrong in Washington.
That revelation is not exactly new to us in the Middle East, but the significance here is that the American people are being told by former American officials — rather than officials and media from the Arab and Muslim world (supposedly having an anti-US with an agenda) — that their country is being steered in the wrong direction that would take them nowhere but to a major catastrophe.
We know that things had been and are going wrong in Washington. Otherwise, we would not have seen the world's sole superpower being led by the nose by Israel and its powerful lobbyists in Washington. We would not have seen the US government building a false case for war and invading and occupying Iraq based on falsified intelligence reports and baseless justifications.
Effectively, the Bush administration is telling the international community that the US is determined to implement an agenda for global domination based on its military might.
It matters the least whether the world, including the people of the United States, likes it or otherwise.
Isn't it enough that it was people close to the US vice president and indeed the national security adviser himself who (allegedly) exposed an undercover Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operative if only to punish her husband for daring to question the administration's deception in setting the ground for the war against Iraq?
Well, that shows the one-track mind of the neoconservatives in Washington who would stop at nothing while pursuing their extremist agenda.
The neoconservatives are a group of hard-liners who believe that the US should become the new Roman empire because they think the US has the military clout to do so and the rest of the world should pledge allegiance to it. Those who refuse to stand aside for the US need to be eliminated, they argue.
That is bad news indeed. But the worst is that the neoconservatives themselves appear to owe allegiance to Israel rather than the US.
Now, people who served with the Bush administration during the first term and some who left mid-way have begun to speak out, among them former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, who says that he had advised the president that an American occupation of Iraq would be politically and militarily untenable.
Beyond that, however, was Scowcroft's firm opposition to the neoconservatives' wheeling and dealings in Washington.
The neoconservatives believe in the export of democracy, by violence if that is required, Scowcroft said in a recent interview with the New Yorker.. "How do the neocons bring democracy to Iraq? You invade, you threaten and pressure, you evangelise." And now, Scowcroft said, the US is suffering from the consequences of what he calls "that brand of revolutionary utopianism. "This was said to be part of the war on terror, but Iraq feeds terrorism," he said.
Notably, Scowcroft spoke the same thing even before the war.
In August of 2002, seven months before the US invaded Iraq, Scowcroft upset wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. under the headline "Don't attack Saddam."
He argued that an invasion of Iraq would deflect American attention from the war on terrorism, and that it would do nothing to solve the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis, which he has long believed is the primary source of unhappiness in the Middle East.
The reason Scowcroft opted for the media as a platform to express his idea was also clear: There was no one in the White House who was in a mood to listen to him. They were so much engrossed in preparing for war that they could not even stand anyone advising against it.
Unlike the current Bush administration, which is unambiguously pro-Israel, Scowcroft, James Baker, and others associated of George Bush Senior — the 41st president of the US — believe that Israel's settlement policies provoke Arab anger, and that American foreign policy should reflect the fact that there are far more Arabs than Israelis in the world.
Scowcroft had always warned that President Bush was getting too close to Israel .
In October 2004, he said in an interview with London's Financial Times that the Bush administration was "mesmerised" by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.
"Sharon just has him (Bush) wrapped around his little finger," Scowcroft said. "I think the president is mesmerised."
"When there is a suicide attack (followed by a reprisal) Sharon calls the president and says, 'I'm on the front line of terrorism', and the president says, 'Yes, you are...' He (Sharon)) has been nothing but trouble," Scowcroft told the Financial Times.

'Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal'

Another former administration official who has spoken out is Lawrence Wilkerson, who served Collin Powell as his chief of staff at the State Department from 2001 to early 2005.
Wilkerson pins the blame on Vice-President Richard Cheney and Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
According to Wilkerson, the Bush administration's foreign policy had been hijacked by the "Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal."
"What I saw was a cabal between the vice president of the United States, Richard Cheney, and the secretary of defense, Donald Rumsfeld, on critical issues that made decisions that the bureaucracy did not know were being made," he said.
According to Wilkerson, as a result of the "cabal's" actions, Bush has exposed the US to more dangers and more vulnerable, not less, to future crises than the case was when he entered the White House in January 2001.
Wilkerson has also disclosed that the administration was beset by secrecy, arrogance and internal feuding.
The net result was a weakened government unable to handle serious crises.
"I would say that we have courted disaster, in Iraq, in North Korea, in Iran, generally with regard to domestic crises like Katrina, Rita - and I could go on back," he said. "We haven't done very well on anything like that in a long time."